What a difference 45 years makes.

Today’s headline: Shuttle Atlantis Lifts Off for Final Planned Mission

Compare that to this video showing highlights from NASA’s space program in 1965.

It is hard to believe that the US has gone through a few manned space systems in such a short time.

I like this comparison for three reasons.

  1. It gets to the heart of one of the question we care about most here at Americanscience: how can we best understand science as it took shape within the boundaries of the United States/North America/the Americas? That’s a question that we’ve explored at some depth: here, here, here, and here. No matter the framing for your answer, I’m pretty sure NASA has to enter the picture.
  2. We here at Americanscience want to help you think about today’s news with a historical perspective. That’s a tall order. But juxtaposition is a way to start. Any space science historians out there? Shoot me a note in the comments. We’d love to share your insights at this crucial moment in NASA history.
  3. This is Prelinger Archives week: where I showcase the terrific Web holdings available for free on the Web to you Americanscience buffs.

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