This data visualization was created as a class assignment but I wanted to give the data some background. The resulting artifact combines data with storytelling to create an argument that while the Moon appeared to be NASA’s chosen destination early in the space program, Mars quickly became the space agency’s preferred destination and focus of America’s planetary exploration program.
After NASA’s creation in 1958, the agency was tasked with coordinating America’s activities in space. At first this included a huge push to land humans on the Moon by the end of the 1960s. Since that time, the agency has sent dozens of probes to explore the inner and outer planets as well as small bodies including Pluto. These visualizations show the shifting priorities of the space agency, the overall spending and exploration thrusts and the long-term commitment by the US government to explore.
The Dataset: Planetary Exploration Dataset
a public dataset prepared by the Planetary Society.
Integrates the spending history, by year, of every NASA planetary science mission and related activities. The annualized dataset enables improved adjustments for inflation and allows direct comparisons between past and current planetary exploration efforts within the United States.
enables analysis of shifting national priorities in space exploration, spending by destination, roles of major programs, research, launch costs and more.