Selective Excellence

Japan may not have as large a space program as might be expected given the size of its economy. However this is due not to a lack of technological prowess, but to a lack of political will and funding. Donald Yeomans, a senior research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has worked with a number of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) engineers over the years and says he's consistently impressed by what they accomplish on a small budget: "They are not simply doing the easy things. They are ambitious and challenging themselves to develop new technologies, and they...

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