The hardest to achieve, the easiest to imagine: an examination of predictions about outer space during The Space Race in the Huntsville Times, Houston Chronicle, and Orlando Sentinel

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University of Alabama Libraries

For thousands of years humans have made predictions about outer space in fictional and non-fictional works. On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union proved space exploration was possible with the launch of the first artificial Earth satellite, Sputnik I. This event marked the beginning of The Space Race, a fierce competition between the United States and Soviet Union that changed the world forever. American newspapers not only aided in documenting the Space Race, but also featured predictions about outer space. This study examines newspapers published near NASA’s main centers during the Space Race’s pivotal years, 1957 until July of 1969. This study aims to reveal what journalists and other citizens who lived near Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida predicted and discussed regarding space exploration. Journalistic theories such as framing and agenda-setting are employed to explain how conversations in these newspapers may have affected public opinion or the efforts of NASA. The themes that emerge within these articles reveal diverse attitudes about space travel, biased reporting, and hopeful predictions that may have inspired the future.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Journalism, History, Mass communication