SPACE.com invites experts in space exploration, science & technology to provide insightful commentary and informed perspective on news, current events, innovations, big ideas and ongoing research. Expert Voices includes Op-Ed analysis and opinion as well as interesting observations from the field and space exploration efforts around the world.
Nearly 70 years ago, astronomer Paul Merrill was watching the sky through a telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory in Pasadena, California. As he observed the light coming from a distant star, he saw signatures of the element technetium.
Contrary to the five-word theme of the movie "Apollo 13," failure is an option. It is not only indispensable to understanding the success of the space program, but it is inseparable from success itself.