Fifty years ago this week, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made history by becoming the first human to travel into space. What have we learned about the challenges of space travel in the past half-century? Will a human being ever set foot on Mars? What will space vehicles look like in the coming decades? And with the NASA budget in trouble, which countries will take the lead in the next great space race?
Join us for a live chat on the future of space exploration at 3 p.m. EDT on Thursday, 14 April on this page. Space policy guru John Logsdon and space historian James Oberg will be online to answer your questions, and Science's space reporter Yudhijit Bhattacharjee will moderate. You can leave your questions in the comment box below before the chat starts.
Logsdon’s research interests focus on the policy and historical aspects of U.S. and international space activities. His book John F. Kennedy and the Race to the Moon was published in December 2010. He is also the author of The Decision to Go to the Moon: Project Apollo and the National Interest (1970) and is general editor of the eight-volume series Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program.
James E. Oberg
Oberg is one of the world's leading popularizers and interpreters of space exploration. As the NBC News "Space Consultant," he often appears in broadcast and Web site assessments of space events, explaining them and placing them in broader context. He has written 10 books and more than a thousand articles on all aspects of space flight. Among his books are Red Star in Orbit, New Earths, and Pioneering Space (with his wife as co-author).