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Space Exploration

A Guide to Selected Government Information

Web version of this guide includes links to web resources.

Federal Government Information
NASA Home Page

This large website will take time to navigate, but it is a good starting place when researching space exploration. The site contains a comprehensive view of current space efforts and can help narrow one's research focus. Information on separate NASA facilities and missions can also be found.

The Asteroid Impact Hazard: Historical Perspective

"David Morrison (NASA Ames & SSERVI) has given an excellent history of asteroid impact research and planetary defense. The basic motivation for detection and deflection of potentially hazardous asteroids is public safety. This is a societal issue as well as a scientific one, and this video is one that everyone should watch."

Beyond Horizons: A Half Century of Air Force Space Leadership

Written for the lay person, this 1998 history examines Air Force activities and space policy ca. 1945 through the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
D 301.2:H 78/998

Information Security: Many NASA Mission-Critical Systems Face Serious Risks

This Government Accounting Office (GAO) report to Senator Fred Thompson identified weaknesses in NASA's security. In particular, the report found that many mission-critical systems could be crippled by hackers with relative ease. Like most GAO reports, the agency's suggestions to correct the problem and NASA's response to the GAO are also provided. 2000
GA 1.13:AIMD-00-47 microfiche

A journey to inspire, innovate, and discover

A look at and evaluation of the President's long-term space exploration program. 2004
PR 43.8:SP 1/J 82

Life in the universe

Hearing to review real efforts concerning the search for life elsewhere in the universe and using science to help sort out fact from fiction. 2001
Y 4.SCI 2:107-17/CORR.


This annual publication highlights NASA's technology breakthroughs and their practical use in the civilian sector. The report is broken into three parts: aerospace R and D (including an overview of NASA's 10 field centers), "technology transfer and commercialization", and ends with that year's commercial spinoffs from NASA-sponsored research. Gov Pubs currently has 1976-1999.
NAS 1.1/4:999

U.S.-European Collaboration in Space Science

Cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) has produced higher science yields than unilateral approaches. This 1998 report examines former US-ESA endeavors (1958-1992) and explains the reasons for continued joint missions. The report also highlights both agencies' respective systems, structures, and differing viewpoints regarding science projects.
NAS 1.2:SCI 2/17

Vision 2001: future space

This hearing focuses on visions of the future, ranging from the physics of space travel to the economics of space enterprise. 2001
Y 4.SCI 2:107-1

Social Sciences and Space Exploration

Dated, but still a good source on philosophy, psychology, history, law, economics, political science, sociology, and their relationship to space exploration. The work was intended to serve as a guide for scholars interested in space and the social sciences, and is not exhaustive. Contains excellent summaries of each discipline's viewpoint and how each finds an aspect of space exploration worthy of study. 1984
NAS 1.19:192

Solar system exploration

The objectives outlined in this roadmap represent the directions for the exploration of our solar system in the coming decades. They will guide the activities of Solar System Exploration and Mars Exploration in fulfillment of NASA's goals. 2003.
NAS 1.12/7:400-1077

NASA at 40: What Kind of Space Program Does America Need for the 21th Century?

Held 1 October 1998, the House Committee on Science (a subcommittee of the Space and Aeronautics committee) discussed NASA's current direction and where the agency should head next. The five panel members included NASA administrator, Daniel Goldin; Professor of Public Administration at American University, Howard McCurdy; Honorary Director of the International Institute for Space Law, Eilene Galloway; President of the Space Frontier Foundation, and Chairman of Universal Space Lines, Charles Conrad.
Y 4.SCI 2:105/90

Exploring the Unknown

Part of NASA's History series, this four-volume work from 1999 includes reprints of many primary sources dealing with space exploration (including those prior to the Space Age) from 1868-1995. Includes articles, corporate reports, news releases, public laws, memos, and policy papers. Also includes original essays on space history from NASA executives, historians, academia, and others.
NAS 1.21:4407

From Red Tape to Results: Creating a Government That Works Better and Costs Less

This report is part of the National Performance Review issued by the Vice-President's office in 1993. It details five recommendations for NASA including contracting, agency restructuring, and clarifications of its objectives. The report also explains the "implications" and "fiscal impact" of the suggested changes.
PRVR 42.2:G 74/Space

Commercial Space Launch Industry

This is a hearing of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, held 23 September 1998. The subjects were the state of the US commercial space industry, potential problems in the industry's growth, and ideas of how the US can maintain its lead.
Y 4.C73/7:S.HRG 105-1036

Rockets: Teacher's Guide with Activities in Science, Math, and Technology

This activity book from NASA provides 14 Science and Math projects for students K-12 and a brief history of rocketry. The bibliography lists videos, books, internet, and software sources for further information and classroom instruction.
NAS 1.19/4:1999-06-108-HQ

U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness

This is a house hearing before the subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, held 21 April-10 June 1999. The hearing addressed legal issues including continuing federal third party indemnification.
Y 4.SCI 2:106-13

Legal Information
Legal Issues Continue to Surround International Space Station

This article concerns criminal jurisdiction, command and control, exchange of data and goods, and liability for the 16 member states participating in the International Space Station (ISS). The author maintains that the new Revised Intergovernmental Agreement clarified legal issues and could lay the groundwork for future space endeavors. The 1997 agreement revised the previous agreement of 1988.
Journal of Legal Studies Vol. 8, p. 237+, 1997-98.
D 305.21/2:0425-A-08

Code of Federal Regulations

This is a huge collection of regulations pertaining to space. Aeronautics and Space is under Title 14 (administrative review, investigations, launch licenses, definitions, and others), while more specifically, NASA is covered under Chapter V (administration, employee standards of conduct, security and other issues).

United States Code Annotated (USCA)

Under Aeronautics and Space, there are volumes which deal with the comparatively humdrum administrative aspects of space exploration: budgets, employee drug testing, contracts, real estate, and other issues. Like the Code of Federal Regulations, researchers might want to use the index to answer specific questions.
42 USCA 2451 et seq.

Subject Guides