I n this chapter, we present a number of original documents that expand on topics presented in other chapters of the book. These documents give a unique perspective on the rich variety of astronomical inquiry and its intersection with public policy concerns, federal budget issues, city planning, long-range space exploration, and basic human curiosity. These excerpts provide a relatively unfiltered look at astronomy at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
The introductory materials for each segment are the authors', as well as any bracketed material inserted in the original documents. The remainder of the materials in this chapter are public documents, available in their entirety in print form or via the Internet. They relate to public funding of astronomy, light pollution, the loss of NASA spacecraft, the search for extrasolar planetary systems, astrobiology, and the international effort to track near-Earth objects (NEOs).
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