"Space," a great man once said, "is the place." Over the centuries, the cosmos have inspired mankind's imagination and innovation, in pursuit of that final frontier. The past few decades, however, have seen a fading of such romantic pursuits, a phenomenon no better illustrated than with the end of NASA's shuttle program. So, where does that put us in 2013? This month, we travel the country in pursuit of an answer, speaking to some of the top minds in the public and private space games.
We kick things off with a profile of LiftPort, a commercial space endeavor operating out of a small garage in rural Washington State that has been funding its dreams of space elevators through crowdfunded Kickstarter campaigns. Next, we head out to Cape Canaveral in Florida, where Swamp Works has set up shop in an old Apollo training facility. NASA scientists will tell us about some of the organization's far-out plans for getting to Mars and back and 3D printing structures on lunar and planetary surfaces once we arrive.