In an article for Harvard International Review, Space News Editor Warren Ferster examines whether the United States will maintain its position as the global leader in space as it confronts a difficult period of transition and uncertainty.

Ferster looks at the political decisions, historical shifts and other factors that shaped the nation’s current space policy and brought about an increasing U.S. reliance on international and commercial partnerships.

On the future of space exploration, he writes that “budgetary pressures coupled with the steeply increasing difficulty of conquering new frontiers in space — landing on the moon was a turkey shoot compared to the challenge of putting people on Mars — will make it virtually impossible for any nation to go it alone. Barring a fundamental shift in the global economic and technological balance of power, the United States likely will have the leading role, with the resiliency of the Space Station serving as the model.”