In his new book, Mercury Rising, Jeff Shesol writes about Friendship 7, the United States' first mission to put an astronaut in orbit around the Earth and, more broadly, about how Cold War fears fueled the early days of the space program.
On July 20, 1969, an estimated 530 million people watched on live television as Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong became the first human to step upon the surface of the moon. Nearly 50 years later, Academy Award-winning director Damien Chazelle revisits Armstrong's "giant leap for mankind" — but with a more intimate lens.
Kraft was NASAs first flight director, from the first forays into space in the 1960s to after Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in 1969. Kraft also created Mission Control. He has written a new book, –Flight: My Life In Mission Control.
Writer Frank White's book "The SETI Factor," looks at the ongoing search for extraterrestrial intelligence. In 1992, NASA will begin a comprehensive scan of the heavens for radio signals from other solar systems. White says, as a result of that search, it's quite likely that within the next 25 years we'll finally know if we're alone in the universe.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer joins Fresh Air to talk about the scientific and cultural history of the Red Planet. He advocates for robotic and human exploration of Mars -- an endeavor that would lead to greater technological innovations and international cooperation.