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10 of the Most Important Events in Space History
Transcript of 10 of the Most Important Events in Space History
hours after take-off but provided
invaluable information for the Russian scientists to consider when launching humans into space. 1959- First Pictures of the Dark Side of the Moon On the 26th of October 1959 the Soviet Union
released the first pictures of the dark side of the Moon to the public. The photos were taken by Lunik III, which was launched on the 4th of October, and the images were transmitted to Earth via radio over 300,000 miles on the 7th of October. These images allowed scientists to landmark the dark side of the Moon. 1961- Kennedy Pledges Man on the Moon It was on the 25th of May, 1961, that the American President; John F. Kennedy, pledged to his country that, by the end of that decade, America would have a man on the Moon. The speech took place during a joint Congress broadcast on television and radio channels around America. Kennedy then revealed that he
would require $9,000 million, over the next five
years to fund the space program. He promised
that the program would not need to be funded
by extra taxes, on the condition that the
economy continued to grow and companies
excercised wage and price restraint. On the 16th of June, 1963, the Soviet Union launches the first woman into space. Lieutenant Valentina Tereshkova, at age 26, was the fifth cosmonaut in space. Her code name was ‘seagull’ and ninety minutes after her launch at 12:30 pm; her mission was broadcasted all over Moscow television. Although her main mission was to attempt the first docking manoeuvre with another spaceship, Russian scientists were also intrigued about how space may affect women, and if this was different from how it affected men. 1963- Soveit Union Launches First Women into Space 1969- America Lands First Man on the Moon 1970- Soviet Probe Collects Moon Rock 1972- Last Moon Mission Returns 1980- Saturn's RIngs Caught on Film 2004- NASA Rover Looks for Water on Mars 1990- Hubble Telescope Launched into Space On the 21st of July, 1965, America held true to its aspirations and landed the first man on the moon. Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon, in the Sea of Tranquillity, at 2:56 GMT; nearly 20 minutes after the opening of the eagle landing craft’s hatch. As he put his left foot down, Neil Armstrong declared “That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” These words will be reminisced by those who witnessed it and remembered by generations to come. Neil Armstrong was followed by Buzz Aldrin 20 minutes later. Armstrong told the command centre that the moon's surface was like a powdered charcoal and that the landing craft had left a crater about a foot deep. This triumph was broadcasted all over the world and disheartened the Russians who had led the space race until the Apollo XI launch. On the 20th of September, 1970, the Russian space probe; Luna XVI landed on the moon to collect samples from the moon’s surface. It was the first time that an unmanned probe has been set with the objective to collect objects from space and to bring them back to Earth. The probe landed in the unexplored territory in the Sea of Fertility and started collecting dust and rock samples by use of a electric drill attached to a mechanical arm. The probe ended up bringing 100 grams of Lunar soil and rock and then sent the vital data back to Earth. On the 14th of December, 1972, the last manned Moon space mission started its way back to Earth. This mission was to bring an end to the American ‘Lunar Exploration’ space program. The spacecraft was named Apollo 17 and the astronauts who manned it were Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Harrison Schmitt, who had just completed their third moon walk after a short farewell ceremony to the Moon and left a plaque, in the Tarus – Littrow Valley, which stated "Here man completed his first explorations of the Moon, December 1972.” The postscript on the plaque said “May the spirit of peace in which we came be reflected in the lives of all mankind." The plaque bore the signatures of the astronauts and of American President, Richard Nixon and was a fitting commemoration for the moon exploration missions. THE END Saturn’s Rings were caught on film on the 12th of November, 1980, by the Voyager I space probe. Voyager I was launched in 1977 and the probe passed within 124,000 kilometres of Saturn’s clouds. The data the probe collect was just as vital as the vivid photographs it took. Data collected estimates that Saturn’s rings are travelling around the planet at speeds around several hundred miles per hour. The probe has also lead scientists to discover that there are more than 100 separate rings around Saturn, as opposed to the six visible rings observed by a telescope. Voyager I was also sent to scan Saturn’s 15th moon, Titan. Scientists still currently believe that Titan has a similar chemical resemblance to Earth when life began on our planet, over 400 million years ago. On the 24th of April, 1990, the Hubble telescope was launched into space by NASA. The aim was that the telescope would be launched 611.5 kilometres above the Earth, so that it would be above the Earth’s atmosphere and thus avoid the interference which limits ground-based telescopes. The Hubble telescope is the size of a railway carriage and has taken 20 years, 7 years over the allotted time, and $1.55 billion to build. The telescope has been built to be able to see the edge of the known universe and this data will help scientists revise the accuracy of the shapes, sizes and content of galaxies. The Significance of America Landing the First Man on the Moon On the 25th of January, 2004, NASA sends the second of two NASA rovers to explore Mars. The dubbed “Opportunity” rover was sent to Mars to determine if it held water. The rover landed on Mars at 5:05am on the opposite side of Mars from where the other rover, “Spirit”, was located. "Opportunity" landed on a smooth, flat plain, in the highest altitude landing attempted by NASA. The rover sent images back to earth that intimated that, at one stage in its lifetime, Mars had water. In March of 2004 “Opportunity” proved that Mars used to have the right conditions to support life. The Significance of the Last Moon Mission Returning The Significance of a NASA Rover Looking for Water on Mars There were many reasons as to why America landing the first man on the Moon is so important. One of the reasons being obvious; man had never been on the moon before, so this landing, which was broadcasted across the world, was the first of its kind. For thousands of years men had gazed upon the heavens, gazing into what was thought to be the unknown and then, in 1969, America is able to place a man on the Moon, the sheer amount of progress made to get to that point is astounding. Another valuable aspect of the first landing of a man on the Moon was that it gave scientists the confidence to continue space exploration projects; if they could get a man on the moon who was to say they couldn’t get a man on Mars, Saturn or Jupiter? It sparked a desire to continue exploring the heavens and collecting invaluable data. Another important aspect of this event is its political aspect; the space race between the Soviet Union and America. Until the 21st of July, 1969, the Soviet Union had always led the space race, launching satellites, men, women and animals into space but the sheer magnitude of what America had achieved was nearly unsurpassable at the time and severely disheartened the Russians, inflicting the lethal blow that the Americans had been thirsting for since the beginning of the space race. There are numerous reasons to support why the Last Lunar Mission is important to space history, one of them being that the mission set new records in regards to Moon travel and soil samples taken. The Apollo 17 mission was the last lunar exploration in history, that no man has set foot on the moon since 1972. Eugene Cernan, the commander of Apollo 17, still holds the distinction of being the last man to walk on the Moon. The geologist was able to take a the largest soil sample than any other mission, probes included, and the astronauts on board travelled the most distance from the landing site and overall, spent the most time on the Moon’s surface than any other mission. The last mission also had sentimental value to because it would be the last of its kind. A commemorative plaque was placed on the moon and signed by the members of Apollo 17, it was also signed by the American President of the time, Richard Nixon. The entire mission has been considered to be the most successful one of all of the Apollo missions. Besides the data collected the most important contribution by Apollo 17 was the commemorative plaque. "I can think of no more significant contribution that Apollo has made to history."(Dr, Schimt) The significance of a NASA rover being sent to Mars to investigate whether or not Mars had water is astronomical. Besides Earth, Mars has the most hospitable climate in the solar system. So hospitable that at one stage in its life, Mars may have been able to harbour and support primitive life. There are two main reasons that Mars is being so thoroughly investigated; one being that scientists are interested in knowing if Mars ever sustained life and to what extent, is there still life on Mars? Secondly, the scientists are also interested in whether Mars is suitable enough to be colonised in the future. But before any of those questions can be answered, scientists need to know if Mars hosts water. If so there will be possibilities for both past and future habitation of Mars. The “Opportunity” rover, along with its sister rover, “Spirit” were able to confirm that ice water existed on Mars. The rover was able to sample some of the ice water and send its chemical makeup to Earth for scientists to study. The rovers that explore Mars are still sending in data; which could give birth to new possibilities, and cause new questions for scientists to answer.