Chesley Bonestell, “The Exploration of Mars” (1953), oil on board, 143/8 x 28 inches, gift of William Estler, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Reproduced courtesy of Bonestell LLC.

Engineering and Infrastructure

Infrastructure supports the modern world—literally. The nation's highways, broadband networks, flood controls, electrical grid, tunnels and bridges, building codes, internet architecture, and railways are just some of the infrastructure that must be continually built, maintained, and upgraded. Science and technology plays an outsized role in making this infrastructure work effectively and efficiently—a task made more challenging by climate change and natural disasters. Whether the country's infrastructure can adapt to a very different environment than the one it was built for is one of the most pressing questions of the twenty-first century.