Newsstand-Only Special Issue of National Geographic Looks at History and Future of Space Exploration

Nov 06, 2008, 16:37 ET from National Geographic Society

'SPACE: The Once and Future Frontier' on Newsstands Now

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Fifty years of space exploration are spotlighted in a special collector's edition of National Geographic magazine. "Space: The Once and Future Frontier" ($10.99), available only on newsstands until Jan. 26, 2009, spans a half-century of space discoveries, from the 1957 Russian Sputnik satellite launch to the New Horizons mission to Pluto currently under way.

Punctuated by stunning images of space and the people who probe its mysteries, the issue offers an in-depth look at topics ranging from the danger of landing on the moon and returning to Earth to future space experiments that explore lingering questions about the universe.

Highlights include:

  • Writer Ray Bradbury's foreword, in which he looks at fiction's romantic expectations of Mars compared with actual scientific findings from the planet.
  • Joel Achenbach's remembrance of international heroes who ventured into space, including Yuri Gagarin, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
  • Michael Lemonick's timeline of the flybys, landings and probes of Earth's surrounding planets, including their moons, and some asteroids.
  • Robert Irion's look at the next wave of scientific discovery, which will explore how planets and solar systems form, what materials hold the planets in their cosmic web and how the universe expands.

Also included in the special edition is a chart of space missions, from 1961 to future planned missions, with descriptions of the spacecraft involved; an illustrated graph with facts about the planets, their orbits and unique characteristics; a pull-out poster on space exploration, showing each country's space initiative and the flight path of each spacecraft; and a graphic showing which extrasolar planets have the greatest chance of sustaining life, depending on their distance from a star.

National Geographic magazine has a long tradition of combining on-the-ground reporting with award-winning photography to inform people about life on our planet. It has become an increasingly relevant "must read" magazine for those interested in climate change, environmental coverage, world cultures, natural history and exploration. In 2008 it won three National Magazine Awards, for General Excellence, Photojournalism and Reporting. In 2007 it won two National Magazine Awards, for General Excellence and Photography. Its Web site won a 2008 Webby Award for best magazine Web site.

The magazine is the official journal of the National Geographic Society, one of the world's largest nonprofit educational and scientific organizations. Published in English and 31 local-language editions, the magazine has a global circulation of around 8 million. It is sent each month to National Geographic members and is available on newsstands for $4.95 a copy. Single copies can be ordered by calling (800) NGS-LINE, also the number to call to apply for membership in the Society. The magazine's Web site is at

SOURCE National Geographic Society