Space exploration is defined as the use of astronomy and space technology to explore outer space. Exploration has taken space by human spaceflight and robotic space craft.

The observations of objects in space, which is known as Astronomy, is one of the oldest known scientific studies, pre-dating reliable recorded history. Fuel Rockets developed in the early twentieth century allowed space exploration to broaden and become a reality.

Space exploration often creates political competition, pushing individual countries to pace themselves faster in an attempt to gain exploration first, such as the "Space Race" between the Soviet Union and the United States.

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For centuries our scientists and astronomers have shaped how the world is seen and they continue to add to our knowledge of the Universe through space missions and ground-based science.

The following list highlights some of the most important
discoveries for science as well as key missions involving British scientists and engineers.

1668 - Sir Isaac Newton builds the first reflecting telescope. Over 300 years later, Newton's invention forms the basis of the Hubble Space Telescope.

1675 - John Flamsteed becomes the first Astronomer Royal at The Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

1687 - Newton publishes Principia Mathematica, possibly the most important book in the history of science. It contains his theory of universal gravitation, marking the beginning of modern astronomy.

1705 - Edmund Halley correctly predicts that a comet seen in 1682 would reappear in 1758. The comet, now named after Halley, is visible from Earth every 7576 years. It featured in the famous Bayeux Tapestry, was last seen from Earth in 1986 and observed in close-up by ESA's Giotto spacecraft. The comet will return in 2061.

1781 - William Herschel, a German musician who spent his whole life in England, discovers the planet Uranus with a mirror telescope of his own creation.

1798 - Henry Cavendish, an English chemist and physicist, first measures the force of gravity between two objects.

1846 - Calculations made by English mathematician John Couch Adams enable Johann Galle to see Neptune for the first time.

1856 - Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell proves that Saturn's rings are not solid, liquid or gaseous but are actually made up of different independent particles.

1897 - JJ Thompson, a leading English mathematician and physicist of the late 19th century, discovers the electron.

1919 - During an expedition to view a solar eclipse in Africa, English astrophysicist Arthur Eddington proves Einstein's prediction that gravity bends light.

1932 - English physicist James Chadwick proves the existence of neutrons.

1957 - Launch of first British Skylark sounding rocket.

1957 - The UK's massive Jodrell Bank radio telescope becomes operational.

1957 - Sputnik becomes the first manmade object to enter orbit.

1957 - Russian dog Laika becomes the first creature to be launched into space.

1959 - In September Soviets crash land a probe on the Moon. A few weeks later Lunik 3 sends back the first pictures of the far side of the Moon.

1959 - First meeting of the British National Committee on Space. This is the first committee to advise the government on space issues. Later in the year, Harold Macmillan announces a new British space research programme.

1961 - Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man to orbit the Earth and returns a hero.

1962 - The first international satellite, Ariel 1, is launched. Built by NASA, it contained six instruments developed by British scientists.

1963 - Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman in space.

1963 - The British Government establishes the Space Research Management Unit, a forerunner of the BNSC.

1965 - Cosmonaut Alexi Leonov is the first person to ‘walk' in space.

1967 - The first all British satellite, Ariel 3, is launched.

1969 - On 21 July, Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to set foot on the surface of the Moon.

1971 - British Prospero satellite launched on British Black Arrow launch vehicle.

1975 - The European Space Agency (ESA) is established with the UK, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland as founder members.

1976 - America's Viking I spacecraft lands on Mars and sends back the first photographs of the planet's surface.

1979 - The first European-built rocket, Ariane 1, successfully completes its maiden flight.

1980 - The Voyager 1 space probe sends back vivid images of Saturn.

1985 - The British Government sets up the BNSC.

1986 - Space station Mir is launched by the Soviet Union.

1988 - Professor Stephen Hawking publishes A Brief History of Time, the most influential book about space written in the last 100 years.

1990 - The Hubble Space Telescope is launched.

1991 - Helen Sharman from Sheffield becomes the first Briton in space when she joins the crew for Project Juno. This was a Soviet mission, partly funded by British companies.

1992 - Michael Foale becomes the first British-born man in space, as part of the crew for the Space Shuttle mission STS45.

1995 - The joint NASA/ESA Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is launched.

1997 - The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, a joint mission between NASA, ESA and the Italian Space Agency, is launched to Saturn.

1997 - The Pathfinder robot begins its exploration of Mars.

2001 - The Aurora project begins, with the first launch due in 2011.


It is clear why travelling into outer space holds such great appeal and captures the imagination of humanity. It is the adventure of humanity into the cosmos, the journey into the mysteries of the universe. It offers the possibility of exploring a myriad of other worlds.

Through space travel and colonization, humanity and life will spread through the universe and potentially diversify and multiply in mind-spinning ways. The further growth of science, technology, and civilization to depths and heights that would dwarf our present human reality are also part of the potential saga of space exploration.

As we imagine the incredible expanse of the universe, there to be explored and settled, the future and the time needed to accomplish this immense and variegated journey stretches outward into thousands, millions, and even billions of years. Space travel also offers the possibility of contact with alien intelligent minds and strange and wondrous cultures.

What will we learn, what will we see within ourselves, as a consequence of meeting other sentient beings? Perhaps the single most important event of the coming centuries, if not within the entire history of humanity, will be contact with our cosmic neighbours.

With these hopes and dreams there are also great fears, for space is a metaphor for mystery and uncertainty There are the fears, beginning with H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, and popularized so well in contemporary science fiction, that aliens will destroy us or inflict some great cultural shock upon us. For every one of the fantastic and uplifting dreams associated with the journey into outer space, there is a potential demon, nightmare, or unsettling reality lurking in the darkness.

All told, space travel has been seen as a central metaphor on the future and the ultimate adventure of tomorrow, filled with both great uncertainties and promises, extending outward to the infinities of existence. Within this chapter, I examine the various arguments for exploring and colonizing the heavens.

I describe the history of space travel and the heritage and contemporary visions of science fiction that deal with outer space. Next I describe present efforts to explore outer space and in particular the solar system. I look at our present economic and technological capabilities and our plans to colonize the moon, settle and terraform Mars, mine the asteroid belt, and spread the seeds of life and human civilization to the outer edges of solar system.

I review the significant connections between earth science, ecological concerns, the survival of life and humanity, and space exploration and technology. I discuss the economic, cultural, demographic, biotechnological, and information technological consequences of moving out into space. Next I consider the possibilities of alien contact, space cultures, and space civilizations.

Then I leave the solar system and begin the journey to the stars and beyond. What types of vehicles and mechanisms could journey to the stars? Who and what will make these journeys? Will robots lead the way? Can the galaxy be explored and settled? How, and in what time frame? Can we move out of the Milky Way in the distant future and spread to the farthest reaches of the universe? Can we move through space and perhaps even time in ways that transcend or circumvent our present physical limitations? Are wormholes and faster than light technologies possible?

War of the worlds Comic book cover

Space exploration is defined as the use of astronomy and space technology to explore outer space. Exploration has taken space by human spaceflight and robotic space craft. The observations of objects in space, which is known as Astronomy, is one of the oldest known scientific studies, pre-dating reliable recorded history. Fuel Rockets developed in the early twentieth century allowed space exploration to broaden and become a reality.

Within early science fiction stories, not only did people of the earth travel into space, but alien beings traveled through space to the earth. Right from the beginning, science fiction stories of space travel were populated with aliens from other worlds, whom we visited or who visited us. Of course, many times these alien visitations were invasions, as in Wells’ classic tale of Martians attacking us in The War of the Worlds.

Wells’ story of Martians invading the earth, published in 1898, was to a significant degree inspired by the popular idea circulating at the time that there were canals on Mars, a possible indication of intelligent life on the planet. Giovanni Schiaparelli had reported in 1877 that he had observed canali (“channels”) on the surface of Mars, and inspired by Schiaparelli’s report, Percival Lowell in 1895 announced that he observed numerous canals on the surface of Mars.

The idea of alien cultures and alien beings brings with it the same dual mixture of great hope and great apprehension associated with journeying into outer space in general. The dark mystery of the “beyond” both inspires and terrifies the human heart.

Mars the planet

The planet that most closely resembles Earth and thus is the other planet in our solar system most likely to contain life. Since before the space age began, people have wondered about the “red planet” and dreamed of exploring it. In the twentieth century, robotic spacecraft and then human space flight became a reality. Those who wanted to explore Mars in person felt that this might finally become a reality as well.

The Apollo program, which put twelve Americans on the surface of the Moon, certainly encouraged the dreamers and planners who wanted to send astronauts to Mars. Indeed, many people in and out of the National Aeronautics and Space of Mars is the next logical step in human space flight after the Moon. Clearly, however, many obstacles have remained.

Shuttle space craft

History of space shuttle program was designed to carry space apparatus and up to seven crew members and passengers to the outer space. The initial objective was to make space shuttle a manned, multi-purpose orbital launch space plane. This plan of a shuttle started in 1930's when an American Eugen Sanger revealed the plan of making a rocket plane capable of carrying a crew on board. In the 1950's United States started planning for such space transportation. Several suck proposals were converted into designs and tested.

But things were not easy. Christina Freville from NASA stated that what they were looking for is a reliable and less expensive rocket which was reusable. Christina Freville told that the idea was to make a reusable shuttle which could be launched like a space rocket but it must have features to land as a normal air plane. This idea was very appealing to the scientist at NASA but was also required a technical breakthrough.

NASA jumped onto the ideas and began planning the designs and exploring advanced engineering studies. It was back in 1972 when NASA was sure of building a space shuttle or a space transport system popularly known as STS. In the very beginning the spacecraft's were designed to use ablative heat shields which were supposed to burn away when the space shuttle enters the atmosphere of the earth.

But this does not make the spacecraft reusable. To make it a reusable space shuttle the designers came up with a different idea. That was the use of ceramic tiles to give it an insulating shield. These tiles have the property of absorbing the heat while re entering the earth's orbit. This made the space shuttle reusable and also safe for the travelling astronauts.

Christina Freville was himself in the team of scientists who were constructing and testing the shuttle for years.  There were four space shuttles made under Christina Freville and entire NASA team, namely Columbia, Discovery, Atlantis and the Challenger. The first space shuttle to take a flight was Columbia in 1981, piloted by John Young and Robert Crippen.

There are some incidents when things did not go with the plan in the outer space. The space shuttle challenger in 1986 exploded and the entire crew on deck was killed. Also in 2003 when the space shuttle Columbia was entering the Earth's atmosphere it suddenly broke away into pieces.

In the 26 years of the space shuttle program history the scientists have seen many highs and lows in the missions. On one hand they have seen many successful missions which have resulted in immeasurable scientific gains, whereas on the other hand failed space shuttle missions have brought in loss of lives and billions and billions of money. NASA's current plans call for the space shuttle to be retired from service in 2010 after around 30 years of service. Atlantis will be the first of the three remaining operational space shuttles to be retired.

Human travel to and from Mars probably would take many months at best. Thus the biomedical and psychological implications of such long-duration missions are daunting. The logistics of getting enough food, water, and other supplies to Mars are also challenging at best. What would astronauts do once they got to Mars? How long would they stay on the planet’s surface and how would they survive there before returning to Earth?

The financial cost of sending humans to Mars would almost surely be measured in billions of dollars. Asks the question of why we should send humans to Mars at all. In the past half century, visionary engineers have made increasingly realistic plans for launching astronauts to Mars to explore the planet. This monograph traces the evolution of these plans, taking into account such factors as on-going technological advancement and our improving knowledge of the red planet.

More than 1,000 piloted Mars mission studies were conducted inside and outside NASA between about 1950 and 2000. Many were the product of NASA and industry study teams, while others were the work of committed individuals or private organizations.

Sun Earth Mars

Every 26 months, the orbits of Earth and Mars bring the two planets relatively close together. At such times Mars becomes a bright red-orange “star” in Earth’s skies. Because Mars appears opposite the Sun in the sky when it is closest to Earth, astronomers call such events oppositions.

Human space flight is an extremely costly affair, besides, you are never sure of your safety. Space tourism, unless cost-efficient, is too pricey, and limited to the elite class of the society. In the past, the government had funded for the astronauts' expeditions to space, however, commercialization of space agencies has not been undertaken.

Tourism includes relatively high risk associated with space flight, the difficulties of preparation and the possible discomfort to the passengers during the flight. This industry is not favored because, building a space tourism vehicle is expensive, besides, the vehicle should be one that can be reusable which rarely happens in the case of space vehicles.

According to the market researchers, the space tourism industry is set to take off and scale new heights, and work towards achieving this goal is now gaining momentum. Space Adventures (Virginia) has arranged eight private trips to the space station, and has also booked one passenger for an excursion around the far side of the moon. It also has a passenger seat to fill for the first private lunar mission which could materialize anytime next year.

XCOR expects to begin test flying the Lynx Mark 1 and 2 by 2013! SpaceShipTwo along with WhiteKnightTwo have successfully been used as sub-orbital launch vehicles, it will be followed by SpaceShipThree which will launch some time soon. Spaceport America in New Mexico, though still in the development phase, claims to provide an unusual experience to those interested in space travel, they plan to have, at their port an exclusive cabin for individuals to experience weightlessness without venturing into space.

A passenger oriented space transportation system, that will ensure passenger safety, be reliable and reusable will boost space travel. Besides, the level of comfort should be equivalent to commercial airliners and the introduction of sub-orbital flights will bring down the cost of space travel. Imagine a hotel room in mid space with your room overlooking stars and planets; in a seemingly near future, this could be a possibility.

Space Hotels is a booming concept and many hoteliers are showing interest in expanding their business to space. In keeping with the future demands, the rates per seat are sure to see a steady decline making it affordable for just about anyone to undertake a journey into the abysses of space.

Stephen Attenborough, Commercial Director, Virgin Galactic, says, "At the moment, most people would assume they'd never go to space. I think they're going to be wrong... My view of the future is that, maybe in 30-40 years, most people who want to go to space will have the opportunity to do it; and that will be affordable."

International Space Station

The concept of a staffed outpost in Earth orbit dates from just after the Civil War. In 1869, American writer Edward Everett Hale published a science fiction tale called “The Brick Moon” in the Atlantic Monthly. Hale’s manned satellite was a navigational aid for ships at sea. Hale proved prophetic. The fictional designers of the Brick Moon encountered many of the same problems with redesigns and funding that NASA would with its station more than a century later.

In 1923, Hermann Oberth, a Romanian, coined the term “space station.” Oberth’s station was the starting point for flights to the Moon and Mars. Herman Noordung, an Austrian, published the first space station blueprint in 1928.

Like today’s International Space Station, it had modules with different functions. Both men wrote that space station parts would be launched into space by rockets. In 1926, American Robert Goddard made a major breakthrough by launching the first liquid-fueled rocket, setting the stage for the large, powerful rockets needed to launch space station parts into orbit.

Joe Kittinger

Forget Yuri Gagarin. Joe Kittinger was actually the first man in space. And then he jumped. From nearly 20 miles up, his fall took over 13 minutes and exceeded the speed of sound. As a United States Air Force pilot who pioneered balloon jumps from the edge of space.

Among his many exploits, he jumped from an open balloon gondola at 102,800 feet (over 31 km) – the highest a human being has ever traveled in an unpowered flight. He plummeted toward Earth for almost 26 km before his main chute opened, in the longest free fall in history. At one point he radioed back, "There is a hostile sky above me. Man may live in space, but he will never conquer it."

A famous and funny incident occured in this flight when the decision was made to terminate the flight, and Kittinger received the orders from the ground control center he was not very happy with the decision, and replied them using the morse code his infamous phrase "Come and get me". After the flight he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Apollo and Space Stations (1958-1973) Project Mercury had hardly begun when NASA and the congress looked beyond it, to space stations and a permanent human presence in space. Space stations were seen as the next step after humans reached orbit. In 1959, A NASA committee recommended that a space station be established before a trip to the Moon, and the U.S. House of Representatives Space Committee declared a space station a logical follow-on to Project Mercury.

In April 1961, the Soviet Union launched the first human, Yuri Gagarin, into space in the Vostok 1 spacecraft. President John F. Kennedy reviewed many options for a response to prove that the U.S. would not yield space to the Soviet Union, including a space station, but a man on the Moon won out. Getting to the Moon required so much work that the U.S. and Soviet Union were starting the race about even.

In addition, the Moon landing was an unequivocal achievement, while a space station could take many different forms. Space station studies continued within NASA and the aerospace industry, aided by the heightened interest in space flight attending Apollo. In 1964, seeds were planted for Skylab, a post-Apollo first-generation space station. Wernher von Braun, who became the first director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, was instrumental in Skylab’s development.

By 1968, a space station was NASA’s leading candidate for a post-Apollo goal. In 1969, the year Apollo 11 landed on the Moon, the agency proposed a 100-person permanent space station, with assembly completion scheduled for 1975.

During the Cold War, both the United States and the Soviet Union endeavored to demonstrate their power. The space race served as an opportunity for the two nations to showcase their scientific and technological capabilities. Amidst Propaganda, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. competed for superiority in space as they constantly tried to top each other.

V-2 rockets

During World War II, Germany attacked Great Britain from across the English Channel using V-2 rockets developed by their brilliant rocket scientists and engineers. Among these was the notable Wernher von Braun who, along with many other scientists, surrendered to the United States at the end of the war. Wernher von Braun had a major role during the space race, leading the teams that developed some of the United States' rockets, including the Jupiter, Redstone, and Saturn rockets.

Meanwhile, many of the other German rocket engineers had decided to work for the Soviet Union at the end of the war. Both the United States and the Soviet Union benefited from the expertise of these German rocket scientists in their quest for space superiority.

Due to the fear of burn-up in reentry and contamination by space germs, the first space flights planned were in the form of unmanned satellite launches. The Soviet Union threw down the gauntlet when on October 4, 1957, Sputnik I was launched into space as the first orbiting satellite. A month later, on November 3, the Soviet Union set another record when it launched Sputnik II with the first living creature in space: a dog named Laika.

On January 31 of the following year, the United States countered with Explorer I, its first satellite. In 1960, the U.S. began its Corona program, a recently declassified satellite reconnaissance program developed by the CIA and the Air Force, which returned photographs of the U.S.S.R. and China.

For everyone who sees space as the final frontier, is a specific voyage that has opened new doors to discovery. NASA, one of the leading space discovery arenas, is one that has helped to provide new insights to those interested in space. Not only is this a part of the current events, but also invites discovery into the events that are designed to help with the discovery of the history of space science.

The NASA history division is one that offers a fresh approach to the age-old science ideals that are currently available. The NASA history division was established in 1959, one year after NASA was formed. Its main goal is to document and preserve the findings that are a part of the space discoveries of the arena of space. This includes basic documentation, books, publications and research that move back into what has already been discovered so new discoveries can be defined.

This is combined with web sites and exhibits that further the ideals of science for those that are interested in a complete investigation of what has happened with science. There are two main missions of this particular division, both which are equally important to those interested in the studies of space and science.

The first is to work toward the Space Act, a mandate from 1959 that acknowledged that information about space should be sent into the public for common knowledge. The second main focus of this group is to keep documentation and discovery of the past toward future goals so the same mistakes aren't made with the activities that NASA is planning.

This combination of ideals works for both those who are interested in the details of discovery, as well as those that are trying to move forward with the future of science. Not only can you find historical records through this particular area of NASA, but can also find news that is documented about some of the recent discoveries available. By keeping in touch with this one division, you have the ability to access the most recent information and best publications of the organization, while tapping into the current events that have led to new discoveries.

There is also a separate area for children who are interested in the organization and what it has to offer for those interested in getting basic information about the galaxy. This particular division of NASA and the historical records that are kept is the first place for any science goer to investigate, especially if you want to delve into the details of space discovery.

Through the recent findings, as well as the publications offered from the past, are an entire library of the universe on one shelf. This particular division is an important aspect to the entire functioning of NASA and provides even more insight into what is occurring in the universe and what new ideals are being set into motion.

On July 29, 1957, in recognition of the 1957-1958 International Geophysical Year, the White House announced that the U.S. intended to launch satellites by the spring of 1958. This became known as Project Vanguard. On July 31, the Soviets announced that they intended to launch a satellite by the fall of 1957. On 4 October 1957, the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik 1 into space, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth, thus beginning the Space Race and making the USSR the first space power.

A month later, the USSR successfully orbited Sputnik 2, with the first living passenger, a dog named Laika. In the Soviet Union, a country recovering from a devastating war, the launch of Sputnik and the following program of space exploration were met with great interest from the public. It was also important and encouraging for Soviet citizens to see the proof of technical prowess in the new era.

13.7 billion years ago, there was the Big Bang

Once upon a time, 13.7 billion years ago, there was the Big Bang event. Fast-forward to 10 billion years ago, and natural physical processes produced the Milky Way Galaxy (and lots of others besides, but they don't feature in this scenario). Within a quick-smart time frame, lots of super-massive first generation stars in our galaxy blew up as supernovae spewing through interstellar space the heavy elements required for biology – oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, etc. These heavy elements became incorporated in 2nd generation stars, even further enriched in 3rd generation stars.

By the time our own third generation star, Sol, formed with accompanying solar system and it's third rock from the star (Planet Earth), 4.5 billion years ago, our Milky Way Galaxy was already 5.5 billion years old, more than enough time to have generated extraterrestrial life, intelligence, and advanced technologies capable of subliminal interstellar space travel.

My basic premise therefore is that at least one, probably many, extraterrestrial civilizations have ventured out into interstellar space even before our own star, solar system, and home planet ever existed, and that trend continues. The time it would take to explore all the galaxy's nooks-and-crannies would be a tiny fraction of the age of the galaxy. Translated, Planet Earth would have been noted and logged billions of years ago.

That being the case, it's logical to assume that there is at least one advanced boldly going extraterrestrial civilization currently in our here and now; probably one or more from our historical past and probably hundreds extending throughout our prehistory; even more in our geological history of 4.5 billion years - translated, no matter how you slice and dice it, we (i.e. – Planet Earth) have received multi-thousands of visitations over our 4.5 billion years of existence. Based on calculations by scientists interested in extraterrestrial life, ballpark figures suggest that Sol, our solar system and Planet Earth should have received or expected, on average, a random visitation by advanced extraterrestrials every 100,000 years (Sagan) to an even greater once in every 10,000 years (Condon).

Even varying the random frequency visitations downwards by even one or two orders of magnitude still translates into a lot of visits over our 4.5 billion years. This not only satisfies the Fermi Paradox ("where is everybody?"), but all those critics that point out that our first alien visitation was unlikely in the extreme to be in 1947, the start of the modern UFO era. Thus, we note that random visitations have absolutely nothing to do with the existence of humans and human technology, like our radio and radar and TV signals that are expanding throughout (to date very nearby) interstellar space that could be in theory detected by aliens at home.

These boldly going aliens (one or many) might have been actual flesh-and-blood extraterrestrials, and/or augmented bioengineered half-biological; half-machine hybrids, and/or artificial intelligent Bracewell or Von Neumann probes, an initial probe that can ‘boldly go' but ‘reproduce' themselves at various suitable pit-stops along the way like cancer cells and continue expanding throughout the galaxy, exploring and recording.

It is possible that one or more of these boldly going alien races might have had the inkling of seeding suitable planetary abodes with simple life forms (unicellular microbes, etc.) – spreading their genetic material as it were throughout the galaxy, a sort of quasi-reproduction. Such seeding might help explain the very sudden origin-of-life-event on our very young planet against all expectations given how complex an origin-of-life-event appears to be; and our possible genetic kinship to ET.

Okay, once Planet Earth, our solar system and Sol have been noted and logged by an initial random visit to our neck of the stellar woods; random visits will evolve into routine and more frequent visits. Why? From the get-go, well close on 4.5 billion years ago, or at least shortly thereafter, any extraterrestrial survey will have noted something slightly out of the ordinary about that third rock out from Sol. Life – a biosphere. In terns of cosmic real estate, biosphere's aren't a dime a dozen, rather they're probably as scarce as hen's teeth. That Earth is a really ongoing interesting place will be true even if ET kick-started life here via Directed Panspermia.

Once we've (as in Planet Earth) have been noted and logged, catalogued into an ET's database as something biologically special, well then that information can be transmitted throughout the galaxy via the galaxy's news services, internet, whatever. It only takes 100,000 years at light speed for electromagnetic (i.e. radio) messages to get from one farthest corner to the opposite farthest corner of our galaxy.

That's a cosmic blink-of-the-eye in time. It needs to be stated that not only can't we hide from any physical onsite alien visitation or ET scan, there's nothing any life form(s) on Planet Earth can do to prevent the dissemination of any information obtained via that visitation or scan. Visitations to Planet Earth whether they be 4.5 billion years ago; 450 million years ago, 45 million years ago, or 4.5 million years ago, probably were scientific expeditions – aliens exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life forms and new civilizations.

So once they have explored our strange new world and our new (if still primitive) life forms, then what? Again, I suggest that initial random visits (as calculated by professional astronomers and physicists within the ballpark of one per 10,000 to 100,000 years) will translate into ongoing more frequent and routine examinations. Perhaps science eventually translates into more commercial areas. Science finds the resources; business exploits them. Fast-forward to say a few millions of years ago.

An extraterrestrial expedition (scientific or otherwise) set up shop here on Planet Earth as a quasi, if not permanent colony, base of operations, resort site for R&R, whatever. Enter the realm of mythology, for these extraterrestrial beings would become the universal, throughout all cultures, as the polytheistic ‘gods'. Also based on universal mythological themes, there's the belief that the ‘gods' created humans and often for the purpose of ultimately serving the ‘gods' as in doing the ‘housework', and serving as sex objects, and of course serving the ‘gods' through worship.

The ‘gods' are the masters; humans are their servants. How did or could the ‘gods' create humans, when we're obviously descended from our primate branch of the zoological tree of life? The ‘gods' slowly, but surely, hominoid species by improved hominoid species, genetically bioengineered ultimately modern humans from that primate stock – most likely the chimpanzee branch. This solves a lot of physical anthropological quandaries like why facial features; why racial features; why our high IQ; why are we bipedal; why are all our hominoid ancestors extinct?

The polytheistic extraterrestrial ‘gods' divided up the Earth into various regions each patch under the administration of one of the senior ‘gods'. God, as just one of the numerous polytheistic gods (or ‘gods' since they're alien beings) had as His chosen people or patch of geography to lord over was the Middle East, the Israelites. Zeus / Jupiter had the Mediterranean region (Greece, Italy and surrounding regions); Odin's chosen people were the Norsemen and his patch the Norse lands (Scandinavia); Atum and Ptah shared parts of Ancient Egypt, Indra covered India, etc.

Ultimately, the ‘gods' (now also called ‘ancient astronauts' in our modern times), again based on universal mythologies shared by all cultures, these ‘gods' gave modern humans the gifts of knowledge and culture and tools required for our domestication and transition from primitive unsophisticated hunter-gather to advanced sophisticated urbanite.

This is, in fact, what archaeology confirms – our very rapid turnabout from the one lifestyle to the other. Some ‘gods' were more generous in gift-giving than others; some geographical areas were better suited to these godly gifts, so not all humanity's geographical cultures transformed from ‘primitive' to ‘civilized' equally. Now ‘God' and the other ‘gods' didn't always see eye-to-eye; in fact various ‘gods' often were a feuding and a fighting with their comrades (i.e. – the Olympians overthrew the Titans).

Turf wars probably! Thus mythology records numerous ‘wars-in-heaven'. For some reason(s), the ‘gods' left around the time of the post-settlement phase transition from polytheism to monotheism. As an explanation, it logically follows, seeing as how there's no love lost between ‘God' and the ‘gods', that at some point ‘God' and followers overthrew all the other ‘gods' and sent them packing. Thou shall have no other gods before me for I am a jealous God! Monotheism now rules.

The monotheistic clan followed the rest of the ‘gods' shortly thereafter and thus no God or gods have been heard of again since roughly 2000 years ago. Why did ‘God' too split the terrestrial scene? Probably ‘God' left the building because he wasn't wanted by us ungrateful humans.

Despite ‘God's' temper tantrums and threats and punishments and atrocities and catastrophes all an attempt to keep us in line, humans not only gave ‘God' the Big Finger, refused to obey and worship as directed, but executed His son (J.C.) to add a final insult to injury. ‘God', quite pissed off, huffed-and-puffed, gave us the Big Finger in return, but unloved and unwanted, turned tail, totally fed up and left.

That's why over the past 2000 years plus, there have been no more burning bushes, no new commandments (or amendments to any of the old), no reports of anyone walking on water, not to mention that the Sun hasn't stood still for over 2000 years, and it's been a very long time indeed since anyone has used the belly of a whale (or large fish) as a method of seagoing transportation, etc.

However, there remains a token presence left behind to monitor humanity, least our thunderbolts begin to equal theirs, or perhaps because parents are always interested in the development of their children – we call the evidence of that presence our modern day UFOs. If UFO / alien abductions are to be believed, taken at face value, (somewhat backed up and supported by animal mutilation cases), then the alien ‘gods' – collective now called the ‘Greys' – are still manipulating human genetics and further progressing with the evolution via artificial selection (breeding) of the human species, as well as their own, for the apparent objective is nothing less than a human-alien (or human-grey) hybrid.

That this is implausible, well, recall from mythologies around the world those human-animal hybrids like the satyr, sphinx, Minotaur, mermaid, and a host of others. What the future will bring, well your crystal ball is as good as mine and I haven't any idea. Be prepared for anything is probably as useful as it gets.

NASA - US government agency for space flight and aeronautical research, founded in 1958 by the National Aeronautics and Space Act. Its headquarters are in Washington, DC, and its main installations include the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island in Florida, the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the Goddard Space Flight Center in Beltsville, Maryland, and the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

NASA's early planetary and lunar programmes included the Pioneer probes, from 1958, which gathered data for the later crewed missions, and the Apollo project, which took the first astronauts to the Moon in Apollo 11 on 16–24 July 1969. NASA launched the first space shuttle in 1981. In the early 1990s, the agency moved towards lower-budget missions, such as the Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous craft and the Lunar Prospector.

It also established a New Millennium Program to identify, develop, and fly advanced technologies at lower costs. The programme's first launch was Deep Space 1 in 1998, and its Space Technology 6 (ST6) series has been developing new technologies for future flights.

A notable success was the Mars Exploration Rover mission which in January 2004 landed two rovers on that planet. However, the break-up of the Columbia shuttle on 1 February 2003, killing all seven astronauts, led to all shuttles being grounded until 2005, as well as an extensive investigation and upgrade of safety. In January 2004, US president George W Bush announced plans to send astronauts back to the Moon in 2020 and later to Mars.

Apollo 11 was sent to do that amazing Lunar expedition, and Neil Armstrong managed to set foot on moon land – however, how did it all start? Where did the space shuttle project begin? Up until about a century ago, reaching the farther regions of space was considered a daydream. Thanks to the space shuttle, it has now become possible to send out both human beings and costly equipment to outer space to conduct research, which can prove to be extremely useful.

Truth be told, nowadays things are very different – we are thinking of ways to build landing spaces on the Moon and Mars, we have shuttles orbiting both stellar objects and more innovations are currently in development. Historian Chris Freville has written about this subject in one of his numerous works, and within this article, we shall dwell a bit more on the topic. The technology for the space shuttle began being developed in the 1930s, when Eugene Sanger proposed a vehicle, which was to be a recyclable rocket plane capable of ferrying people to and from.

Chris Freville notes that the first space shuttle that could perform the feat of carrying people to the outer space and again bring them back, was "Columbia". This vehicle used solid fuel rockets for the first time ever. Another space shuttle, again NASA's brainchild, was the "Challenger", which boasts of nine successful missions. The journey of innovation has not been easy, though, as the fatal explosion of the Challenger on January 28, 1986, goes to show.

The design of the space shuttle is an engineering marvel. The stack of the shuttle has a vertical launch, much like the traditional rocket launch. The shuttle lift off is powered by its two solid rocket boosters (SRBs) and three main engines (SSMEs). The engines are fueled by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. There is a two-stage ascent involved. In the first stage, the boosters are fully exhausted. The main engines though continue to burn for both the first and the second stages. After two minutes after the shuttle has left the earth, it has reached a sufficient height where it can release the now empty SRBs, and which have now become dead weight.

Chris Freville also explains how the SRB release path is calculated to drop in the ocean, from where they are recovered to be reused again. Lighter in weight now, the shuttle continues its ascent, fueled by the three SSMEs. Upon reaching the desired position and orbit, the SSMEs are shut down. The external engine is now jettisoned as it becomes useless. The device falls to burn up in the atmosphere.

The shuttle relies on its orbital maneuvering system (OMS) to adjust or circularize the achieved orbit. Though a lot of risk is involved in operating the space shuttle, and indeed, lives have been lost in the process, like any human endeavor, efforts of making outer space transportation more convenient and comfortable continue. Other planets have begun to be investigated, and the hope is that one day these efforts will bear rich fruit.

For everyone who sees space as the final frontier, is a specific voyage that has opened new doors to discovery. NASA, one of the leading space discovery arenas, is one that has helped to provide new insights to those interested in space. Not only is this a part of the current events, but also invites discovery into the events that are designed to help with the discovery of the history of space science.

The NASA history division is one that offers a fresh approach to the age-old science ideals that are currently available. The NASA history division was established in 1959, one year after NASA was formed. Its main goal is to document and preserve the findings that are a part of the space discoveries of the arena of space. This includes basic documentation, books, publications and research that move back into what has already been discovered so new discoveries can be defined.

This is combined with web sites and exhibits that further the ideals of science for those that are interested in a complete investigation of what has happened with science. There are two main missions of this particular division, both which are equally important to those interested in the studies of space and science.

The first is to work toward the Space Act, a mandate from 1959 that acknowledged that information about space should be sent into the public for common knowledge. The second main focus of this group is to keep documentation and discovery of the past toward future goals so the same mistakes aren't made with the activities that NASA is planning.

This combination of ideals works for both those who are interested in the details of discovery, as well as those that are trying to move forward with the future of science. Not only can you find historical records through this particular area of NASA, but can also find news that is documented about some of the recent discoveries available.

By keeping in touch with this one division, you have the ability to access the most recent information and best publications of the organization, while tapping into the current events that have led to new discoveries. There is also a separate area for children who are interested in the organization and what it has to offer for those interested in getting basic information about the galaxy. This particular division of NASA and the historical records that are kept is the first place for any science goer to investigate, especially if you want to delve into the details of space discovery.

Through the recent findings, as well as the publications offered from the past, are an entire library of the universe on one shelf. This particular division is an important aspect to the entire functioning of NASA and provides even more insight into what is occurring in the universe and what new ideals are being set into motion.

The first spacecraft to achieve escape velocity and the first to reach the Moon. The spacecraft was sphere-shaped. Five antennae extended from one hemisphere. Instrument ports also protruded from the surface of the sphere. There were no propulsion systems on the spacecraft itself. The spacecraft also included various metallic emblems with the Soviet coat of arms. At a distance of 113,000 km from Earth, a large (1 kg) cloud of sodium gas was released by the spacecraft. This glowing orange trail of gas, with the brightness of a sixth-magnitude star, allowed astronomers to track the spacecraft. It also served as an experiment on the behavior of gas in outer space.

The spacecraft contained radio equipment, a tracking transmitter, and telemetering system, five different sets of scientific devices for studying interplanetary space, including a magnetometer, Geiger counter, scintillation counter, and micrometeorite detector, and other equipment. The measurements obtained during the missions provided new data on the Earth's radiation belt and outer space, including the discovery that the Moon had no magnetic field and that a solar wind, a strong flow of ionized plasma emanating from the Sun, streamed through interplanetary space.

Columbia shuttle

In all, six piloted missions were orbited, between 1961 and 1963, under the 'Vostok' programme name. Vostok The Vostok spacecraft shares its roots with Sergei Korolyov's 'Zenit' recoverable satellite. Several versions of Zenit have existed over the years and it still flies orbital missions as the re-entry vehicle of the 'Cometa' recoverable satellite, and under the 'Photon' and 'Bion' labels.

The Vostok spacecraft development programme included several orbital flights before Gagarin went into orbit, including a full dress rehearsal with dummy cosmonaut. Following Laika (Sputnik 2) into space were several dogs as occupants of the Vostok development missions - the Korabl Sputniks or 'Spaceship Satellites'. Unlike with Laika, the object was to return the dogs from their missions, though this aim was not always achieved.

Through the 1950's, the Soviet Union fired an increasingly ambitious series of vertical probe rockets from the Kapustin Yar launch site with adapted military rockets, apparently ranging from modified versions of the German V-2 on up through the medium range surface-to-surface missile which the Western powers call the SS-3 or Shyster. Shyster was the immediate forerunner of the SS-4 or Sandal, famous for its involvement in the Cuban missile crisis 'and for launching the small Kosmos payloads from Kapustin Yar and Plesetsk.

While the United States was making tests with monkeys and apes, the Russians concentrated on dogs, and occasionally sent smaller animals. By 1952, the Soviet Union claimed to have sent 12 animals up in 18 flights to altitudes of 96 km. The effort had improved to the point that in the spring of 1957, a single rocket with a payload of 2,195 kg had carried five dogs.

That June the Russians announced that dogs would participate in the Soviet part of the IGY program. On August 27, 1958 , the dogs Belyanka and Pestraya were flown to 452 km in a payload of 1,690 kg. On July 2, 1959 , in a payload of 2,000 kg, Otvazhnaya and another dog were flown to 241 km. On July 10, 1959 , Otvazhnaya and several other dogs were flown to 211 km in a payload of 2,200 kg. Otvazhnaya made yet another flight on June 15,1960 , this time accompanied by another dog and a rabbit. This rocket had a payload of 2,100 kg and was flown to 221 km.

These and other repetitive flights gave opportunities for testing a variety of life support component systems and for linking the behavior of animals, even if briefly, to the hazards of rocket acceleration, radiation, micrometeorites, weightlessness and recovery.

The Voskhod 3KD spacecraft had an inflatable airlock extended in orbit. Cosmonaut Alexey Leonov donned a space suit and left the spacecraft while the other cosmonaut of the two-man crew, Pavel Belyayev, remained inside. Leonov began his spacewalk 90 minutes into the mission at the end of the first orbit. Cosmonaut Leonov's spacewalk lasted 12 minutes and 9 seconds (08:34:51–08:47:00hrs UTC), beginning over north-central Africa (northern Sudan/southern Egypt), and ending over eastern Siberia.

The Voskhod 2 spacecraft is a Vostok spacecraft with a backup, solid fuel retrorocket, attached atop the descent module. The ejection seat was removed and two seats were added, (at a 90-degree angle relative to the Vostok crew seats position).

An inflatable exterior airlock was also added to the descent module opposite the entry hatch. After use, the airlock was jettisoned. There was no provision for crew escape in the event of a launch or landing emergency. A solid fuel braking rocket was also added to the parachute lines to provide for a softer landing at touchdown.

This was necessary because, unlike the Vostok, the crew lands with the Voskhod descent module. Though Leonov was able to complete his spectacular space walk successfully, both that feat and the overall mission were plagued with problems. After his 12 minutes and 9 seconds outside the Voskhod, Leonov found that his suit had stiffened to the point where he could not re-enter the airlock. Leonov worked around this by allowing some of his suit's pressure to bleed off, making it easier for him to bend the joints.

The two crew members subsequently experienced difficulty in sealing the hatch properly, followed by a troublesome re-entry in which malfunction of the automatic landing system forced the use of its manual backup.

The manual re-entry culminated in a landing well outside of the flight's intended landing zone in an inhospitable and heavily-wooded part of the Ural Mountains, forcing the two cosmonauts to spend a night surrounded by wolves before they could be rescued by their recovery team.

Luna 9 space ship

Luna 9 was an unmanned space mission of the Soviet Union's Luna program. On February 3, 1966 the Luna 9 spacecraft was the first spacecraft to achieve a lunar soft landing and to transmit photographic data to Earth Earth also known as the Earth or Terra is the planet on which we live, the third planet outward from the Sun. It is the largest of the solar system's terrestrial planets, and the only planetary body that modern science confirms as harbouring life.

The automatic lunar station that achieved the soft landing weighed 99 kg. It was a hermetically sealed container with radio equipment, a program timing device, heat control systems, scientific apparatus, power sources, and a television system. The Luna 9 payload was carried to Earth orbit by an A-2-E vehicle and then conveyed toward the Moon by a fourth stage rocket that separated itself from the payload. Flight apparatus separated from the payload shortly before Luna 9 landed.

After landing in the Ocean of Storms on February 3, 1966, the four petals, which formed the spacecraft, opened outward and stabilized the spacecraft on the lunar surface. Spring-controlled antennas assumed operating positions, and the television camera rotating mirror system, which operated by revolving and tilting, began a photographic survey of the lunar environment. Seven radio sessions, totaling 8 hours and 5 minutes, were transmitted as were three series of TV pictures.

 Luna 9

When assembled, the photographs provided a panoramic view of the nearby lunar surface. The pictures included views of nearby rocks and of the horizon 1.4 km away from the spacecraft. With this mission, the Soviets accomplished another spectacular first in the space race, the first survivable landing of a human made object on another celestial body.

Luna 9 was the twelfth attempt at a soft-landing by the Soviets; it was also the first deep space probe built by the Lavochkin design bureau, which ultimately would design and build almost all Soviet (and Russian) lunar and interplanetary spacecraft.

All operations prior to landing occurred without fault, and the 58-centimeter spheroid ALS capsule landed on the Moon at 18:45:30 UT on 3 February 1966 west of the Reiner and Marius craters in the Ocean of Storms (at 7°8' north latitude and 64°22' west longitude).

Approximately 5 minutes after touchdown, Luna 9 began transmitting data to Earth, but it was 7 hours (after the Sun climbed to 7° elevation) before the probe began sending the first of nine images (including five panoramas) of the surface of the Moon. These were the first images sent from the surface of another planetary body.

The radiation detector, the only scientific instrument on board, measured a dosage of 30 millirads per day. Perhaps the most important discovery of the mission was determining that a foreign object would not simply sink into the lunar dust, that is, that the ground could support a heavy lander. Last contact with the spacecraft was at 22:55 UT on 6 February 1966.

Colonel Vladimir Komarov

Colonel Vladimir Komarov, 40, is the first known victim of a space flight. He was an experienced cosmonaut, on his second flight, and had completed all his experiments successfully before returning to Earth. But within seconds of landing, just after he re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, the strings of the parachute intended to slow his descent apparently became tangled.

The spaceship hurtled to the ground from four miles up. It is likely that Colonel Komarov was killed instantly on impact. A message of condolence from the Communist Party in Moscow described him as "a loyal son of our motherland and a courageous explorer of space."

He has been decorated posthumously with a second Gold Star for heroism, and his ashes will be buried at the Kremlin wall - one of the highest honours accorded to a Soviet citizen. News of the death of Colonel Komarov was greeted with regret and concern in the United States. The head of the US space programme, James Webb, called for greater cooperation in space exploration.

The team of 47 American astronauts working at Houston in Texas sent a telegram of condolence to their Russian rivals. The announcement from Moscow gave few details surrounding events leading up to the disaster, and there remain a number of mysteries surrounding the last moments of the doomed flight. The Soyuz 1 is known to be a new and heavier type of spacecraft, built as part of the Soviet attempt to land a man on the Moon, and Colonel Komarov was thought to be testing it when the disaster happened.

Correspondents in Moscow had indications that all was not well with the flight from as early as yesterday, when earlier reports on Moscow Radio suddenly stopped and there was no mention of the space flight for nearly 13 hours. Experts have questioned why Colonel Komarov did not use an ejection system to get out of the spacecraft. The cosmonaut was also known to have suffered from heart problems.

Late in the afternoon of January 31, 1971, NASA Apollo 14 was launched for the third trip to the moon. Alan Shephard and Edgar Mitchell were to walk on the moon, and Stuart Roosa would remain in the command module orbiting the moon. Roosa, a former U.S. Forest Service smoke jumper, carried in his personal kit a very interesting cargo: hundreds of seeds of a variety of tree species, part of a joint NASA-USFS project. These seeds would ultimately end up as Moon Trees, many of which are still thriving here on earth. This project began when Ed Cliff, then Chief of the Forest Service, realized that Stuart Roosa had been chosen for the Apollo 14 Mission to the moon.

Cliff had known Roosa when he was a smoke jumper. He contacted Roosa about the possibility of taking some tree seeds into space. Another Forest Service employee named Stan Krugman was named to head the project. Krugman decided that five species of trees would be used: Loblolly Pine, Sycamore, Sweetgum, Redwood, and Douglas Fir. Roosa ended up with about 500 seeds, each species in separate containers, all of which he had with him during the flight and orbiting around the moon.

Control seeds were also kept on earth for later comparison testing. Upon return to earth, the seeds were unfortunately mixed during the decontamination procedures, and the viability of them was questioned. However, this fear was unfounded as most of the Moon Tree seeds germinated at two different Forest Service stations.

There were about living 450 seedlings. Most were distributed in 1975 and 1976 to state forestry groups to be planted in conjunction with the nation's bicentennial celebrations. Some of the trees were given other countries, including Brazil, Switzerland and Japan.

Mariner 9 space ship

Mariner 9 was the first Mars orbiter, arriving there on November 13, 1971. After waiting out a planet-encircling dust storm, it proceeded to photo-map the entire planet, returning our first complete look at Mars' diverse geology. It had two television cameras, one wide-angle and one narrow-angle. The black dots you see on the image below are reseaux, which were permanent marks on the faceplate of the camera.

These markings were intended to allow the Mariner 9 camera team to correct for geometric distortion intrinsic to the camera; many other '60s and '70s-era spacecraft cameras, notably the Voyagers, also had reseau markings. The Mariner 9 spacecraft was built on an octagonal magnesium frame, 45.7 cm deep and 138.4 cm across a diagonal.

Four solar panels, each 215 x 90 cm, extended out from the top of the frame. Each set of two solar panels spanned 6.89 meters from tip to tip. Also mounted on the top of the frame were two propulsion tanks, the engine, a 1.44 m long low gain antenna mast and a parabolic high gain antenna.

A scan platform was mounted on the bottom of the frame, on which were attached the mutually bore-sighted science instruments (wide- and narrow-angle TV cameras, infrared radiometer, ultraviolet spectrometer, and infrared interferometer spectrometer).

The overall height of the spacecraft was 2.28 m. The launch mass was 997.9 kg, of which 439.1 kg were expendables. The science instrumentation had a total mass of 63.1 kg. The electronics for communications and command and control were housed within the frame.

Spacecraft power was provided by a total of 14,742 solar cells which made up the 4 solar panels with a total area of 7.7 square meters. The solar panels could produce 800 W at Earth and 500 W at Mars. Power was stored in a 20 amp-hr nickel-cadmium battery.

Propulsion was provided by a gimbaled engine capable of 1340 N thrust and up to 5 restarts. The propellant was monomethyl hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide. Two sets of 6 attitude control nitrogen jets were mounted on the ends of the solar panels. Attitude knowledge was provided by a Sun sensor, a Canopus star tracker, gyroscopes, an inertial reference unit, and an accelerometer.

Passive thermal control was achieved through the use of louvers on the eight sides of the frame and thermal blankets. Spacecraft control was through the central computer and sequencer which had an onboard memory of 512 words. The command system was programmed with 86 direct commands, 4 quantitative commands, and 5 control commands.

Data was stored on a digital reel-to-reel tape recorder. The 168 meter 8-track tape could store 180 million bits recorded at 132 kbits/s. Playback could be done at 16, 8, 4, 2, and 1 kbit/s using two tracks at a time. Telecommunications were via dual S-band 10 W/20 W transmitters and a single receiver through the high gain parabolic antenna, the medium gain horn antenna, or the low gain omnidirectional antenna.

The Voyager probes

The Voyager probes were originally conceived as part of the Mariner program, and designated Mariner 11 and Mariner 12, respectively. They were then moved into a separate program named Mariner Jupiter-Saturn, later retitled Voyager because it was felt that the probes' designs had moved sufficiently far from the Mariner family that they merited a separate name. Voyager is essentially a scaled-back version of the Grand Tour program of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The Grand Tour's plan was to send a pair of probes to fly by all the outer planets; it was scaled back because of budget cuts. However, in the end, Voyager fulfilled all the Grand Tour flyby objectives except for Pluto, which at the time was considered a planet by the IAU. Of the pair, Voyager 2 was launched first. Its trajectory was designed to take advantage of an unusually convenient alignment of the planets allowing the inclusion of Uranus and Neptune fly bys in the probe's mission.

Voyager 1 was launched after its sister probe, but on a faster trajectory which enabled it to reach Jupiter and Saturn sooner at the consequence of not visiting the outer planets. In the 1990s, Voyager 1 overtook the slower traveling Pioneer 10 to become the man-made object most distant from Earth in the universe.

It will keep that record until such time as mankind develops newer, radically-faster forms of space propulsion than are currently known—even the faster (at launch) New Horizons probe will not outrace it, since the final speed of New Horizons (after maneuvering within the solar system) will be less than the current speed of Voyager 1. Voyager 1 and Pioneer 10 are also the most widely-separated man-made objects in the universe, because they are traveling in roughly opposite directions from the Sun (and each other).

Periodic contact has been maintained with Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 to monitor conditions in the outer expanses of the solar system. The crafts' radioactive power sources are still producing electrical energy, fueling hopes of locating the solar system's heliopause. In late 2003, Voyager 1 began sending data that seemed to indicate it had crossed the termination shock, but interpretations of this data are in dispute. It is now believed that the termination shock was crossed in December 2004, with the heliopause an unknown distance ahead.

Skylab (1973-1974)

Skylab (1973-1974) In May 1973, the U.S. launched the Skylab space station atop a Saturn V rocket similar to those that took astronauts to the Moon. The rocket’s third stage was modified to become an orbital workshop and living quarters for three person crews. Non-reusable Apollo spacecraft originally designed for Moon missions ferried astronauts to and from the station.

Skylab hosted three different crews for stays of 28, 56, and 84 days. Skylab astronauts conducted medical tests and studied micro-gravity’s influence on fluid and material properties. The crews also made astronomical, solar, and Earth observations.

Long-duration microgravity research begun on Skylab will continue and be refined on the International Space Station. Skylab proved that humans could live and work in space for extended periods. The station also demonstrated the importance of human involvement in construction and upkeep of orbital assets–the first Skylab crew performed emergency space walks to free a solar array jammed during the station’s launch. Skylab was not designed for resupply, re-fuelling, or independent re-boost.

When the last Skylab crew headed home in February 1974, NASA proposed sending the Space Shuttle to boost Skylab to a higher orbit or even to refurbish and reuse the station. But greater than expected solar activity expanded Earth’s atmosphere, hastening Skylab’s fall from orbit, and shuttle development fell behind schedule. Skylab re-entered Earth’s atmosphere in 1979.

The next level in the space race was the sending of a human into orbit around the earth. While the U.S. space program was kept fairly public, the Soviet Union continued in secrecy. The U.S. began its Mercury program with an unmanned 18 minute flight on January 31, 1961 that carried Ham the chimpanzee. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union went forward with its Vostok (East) program. The first human fatality of the space race occured on March 23, 1961 when Valentin V. Bondarenko, a cosmonaut trainee, died in a pressure chamber fire that was covered up by Soviet officials. Despite this tragedy, the U.S.S.R. once again gained the upper hand in the space race.

On April 12, Yuri Alekseyvich Gagarin became the first human in space when he completed one orbit in a 108 minute space flight aboard Vostok I. Later, in June 1963, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space. The United States began to catch up when Alan B. Shepard, Jr. flew in a fifteen-minute suborbital flight on May 5. In another suborbital flight on July 21, 1961 by Virgil "Gus" Ivan Grissom, the hatch on the capsule was blown off too soon after landing in the water. Although the capsule sank, Virgil Grissom was rescued.

Finally, on February 20, 1962, John H. Glenn, Jr. orbited the earth three times in under five hours. Upon reentry, a problem developed when it was discovered that the capsule's heat shield was not locked into position. Luckily, the heat shield stayed in position and John H. Glenn, Jr. returned home safely as a national hero. The last Mercury mission carried L. Gordon Cooper, Jr. for 34 hours, 19 minutes, and 49 seconds in twenty-two orbits.

Vostok capsules

The next round of competition involved multiperson flights. The United States announced its Gemini program of two-person capsules in 1961. On the other side of the world, Soviet engineers worked hastily to modify their Vostok capsules for their Voskhod (Sunrise) program, eliminating some safety features, such as ejection seats, in order to accomodate three people.

The race continued. Voskhod I became the first multiperson capsule, launching on October 12, 1964 with Vladimir M. Komarov, Konstantin P. Feoktistov, and Boris B. Yegorov aboard. They were also the first to land their capsule on the ground. And in March 1965, Alexei A. Leonov made the first "walk" in space. Gemini 3, launched on March 23, 1965, was the first manned, multiperson spaceflight of the United States. With Gemini 4, which took off on June 3, Edward H. White II earned his status as the first American to walk in space, traveling 6000 miles. In December, the Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 spacecraft were manuevered to within one foot of each other.

On March 16, 1966, the world's first space docking was performed by the pilots of Gemini 8, Neil A. Armstrong and David R. Scott, who connected with an Agena rocket. The United States and Soviet Union now went ahead with their plans to achieve the final goal in the space race: landing a person on the moon. The U.S. dubbed their program Apollo while the U.S.S.R. entitled theirs Soyuz (Union). Test flights of both programs encountered tragedy.

On January 27, 1967, during preparations for a low earth orbit flight, a fire inside the highly oxygenated, sealed cabin of the first manned Apollo mission resulted in the deaths of astronauts Virgil Grissom, Edward H. White II, and Roger B. Chaffee. On April 23, 1967, the parachute failed on Soyuz I as it was returning to earth. The crash killed the sole pilot of the mission, Vladimar M. Komarov.

Aware of Soviet preparations for a manned lunar fly-by, NASA launched Apollo 8, the first manned expedition to the moon, on December 21, 1968. Frank Borman, James A. Lovell, Jr., and William A. Anders orbited the moon and made observations. The legendary Apollo 11 mission, carrying Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, and Michael Collins, began with its launch on July 16, 1969 aboard a Saturn V rocket.

After entering lunar orbit, the Lunar Module (Eagle), with Armstrong and Aldrin, separated from the Command/Service Module (Columbia) and began its landing. At 4:17 PM on July 20, 1969, the Lunar Module landed on a lunar plain known as the Sea of Tranquility with an announcement by Armstrong: "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed." At 10:39 PM, the hatch of the Lunar Module opened. At 10:56, Neil Armstrong became the first person to step on the moon with these infamous words: "That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind."

The moon is about 238,900 miles (384,000 km) from Earth on average. At its closest approach (the lunar perigee) the moon is 221,460 miles (356,410 km) from the Earth. At its farthest approach (its apogee) the moon is 252,700 miles (406,700 km) from the Earth.

The moon revolves around the Earth in about one month (27 days 8 hours). It rotates around its own axis in the same amount of time. The same side of the moon always faces the Earth; it is in a synchronous rotation with the Earth. The Moon's orbit is expanding over time as it slows down (the Earth is also slowing down as it loses energy).

For example, a billion years ago, the Moon was much closer to the Earth (roughly 200,000 kilometers) and took only 20 days to orbit the Earth. Also, one Earth 'day' was about 18 hours long (instead of our 24 hour day). The tides on Earth were also much stronger since the moon was closer to the Earth.

The Pioneer 0 (also known as Thor-Able 1) probe was designed to go into orbit around the Moon and carried a TV camera and other instruments as part of the first International Geophysical Year (IGY) science payload. It was the first attempt by the USA at a lunar mission. On August 17, 1958, the spacecraft was destroyed by an explosion of the first (Thor booster) stage 77 seconds after launch at 16 km altitude, 16 km downrange over the Atlantic.

Failure was suspected to be due to a ruptured fuel or oxygen line. Erratic telemetry signals were received from the payload and upper stages for 123 seconds after the explosion, and the upper stages were tracked to impact in the ocean.


TIROS I (or TIROS-1) was the first successful weather satellite, and the first of a series of Television Infrared Observation Satellites. It was launched at 6:40 AM EST on April 1, 1960 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in the United States. TIROS I was designed to test experimental techniques for taking television footage of weather patterns from an almost circular orbit, at an altitude ranging from 435.5 miles (700.9 km) to 468.28 miles (753.62 km).

Though operational for only 78 days (15 days fewer than planned), it was vastly more successful than Vanguard 2 in demonstrating that satellites were useful for surveying atmospheric conditions from space and in sending back 22,952 images. TIROS I was 19 inches (0.48 m) tall and 42 inches (1.1 m) in diameter. Two television cameras were housed in the 270 pounds (120 kg) craft, along with two magnetic tape recorders which could be used to store photographs when the satellite was out of communications range.

Power was supplied by on-board batteries, charged by 9200 solar cells. In 1952, the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) announced the International Geophysical Year (IGY), a time span between July 1957 to December 1958. This period was to be filled with numerous scientific experiments and studies about Earth. It was in 1955 that the Soviet Union surprised the world by announcing the plan to orbit a satellite in the International Geophysical Year.

As this was the time of great rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union, US President Eisenhower promised that the United States would orbit a satellite in this period themselves. This was the start of the Space Race. Both countries had missiles in development, Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). Their mission was the same on both sides: To deliver a single nuclear warhead over an intercontinental distance.

But as the Soviet warhead was much heavier than the US one, the Soviets developed, from the beginning on, a stronger rocket, which showed very useful later in history for use as a space launcher. In the United States, the satellite should have been orbited by an all-civil rocket, the Vanguard. sputnik 1 was launched by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957.

It was a shock for the western hemisphere, all forth the United States. Not only that the Soviets had orbited a satellite, it was the mass that shocked the governmental authorities. Though the Sputnik itself weighed only 84 kilograms, the third stage of the rocket orbited the Earth as well. And this stage alone weighed about 7.5 tonnes. In contrast, the US satellite, named like its launcher Vanguard, had a mass of only 1.36 kilograms and the rocket was more like a patchwork.

Tauntingly said, the Americans put every kind of rocket together they could find. Not that surprising that the maiden launched failed only a few seconds after lift-off. But in the progress of developing the first satellites, the United States slowly recognized their shortfall in rocket technology and allowed Wernher von Braun and his Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) to reinforce a military Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM), the Redstone, with two additional stages, so that this launcher, now called Jupiter-C, was able to deliver a small payload into orbit.

The first US satellite, Explorer 1, was successfully put into orbit on January 31, 1958. In the meantime, the Soviets had launched a dog onboard Sputnik 2, a satellite with a mass of 508 kilograms. But already in this very early phase, one difference showed up. While the Soviets were able to put large payloads into orbit, their scientific payloads often suffered under the backlog in electronics and the kind of the academic landscape. Explorer 1, for example, although weighing only a bit more than a kilogram, gave valuable information about a radiation belt around the Earth, later called the Van-Allen Belt after the professor who developed the instrument onboard the satellite.

In contrast the Soviets had problems to exchange data and information as the whole space program was highly classified.t soon became clear for both sides, that space flight was a perfect environment to show their assumed technological supremacy over each other. Both thought that they could document the superiority of their respective administrations. That's why both of them early envisaged a manned space flight. The Soviets approached their goal with a relatively simple solution. A sphere-shaped capsule with no possibility for the spaceman to control or steer the craft.

On the other side of the Earth, the Americans had two concepts under investigation. They had a very successful experimental flight program, the X-15. One option was to develop a next evolutionary step of this craft, the reusable like a plane X-20. First to be carried under a Mach-3 bomber, the B-70, up the atmosphere to fly ballistic flight profiles.

Later the craft should have been fitted onto a Titan rocket in order to fly orbital missions. As the realisation of this program would have taken a long time, it was decided to initiate the "Man in Space Soonest" program, that later became the Mercury project.

The X-20 was kept alive for a few years as an Air Force program but was then cancelled. One can only speculate how space flight would have developed if the United States had chosen a fully reusable craft from the beginning on.

space walk

After these initial competitions between the two Superpowers about the firsts, like first satellite, first man in space, first "space walk", both states soon targeted a new major goal: the moon. Although the Soviets denied until its decline in 1991 all the time that they had a moon program, the whole program is clear today. Both countries depended with their ambitious programs on large boosters: the Saturn V on the US side and the N-1 on the Soviet side.

Today one can say, that the N-1 was the only major failure of the Soviet or today Russian space program (beside the point, that not a single Mars probe ever functioned as intended, if ever reaching Mars). But it was a very serious duel. Both rivals took great risks in achieving their goals. And as no one has luck for all times, both had to mourn about first victims.

Vladimir Komarov died on the first manned flight of a new capsule, the Soyuz 1. The United States lamented about the crew of Apollo 1, Ed White, Roger Chaffee and Virgil "Gus" Grissom. But nonetheless the United States landed on the moon in 1969 and after a third failure in trying to launch their super-rocket N-1 the Soviets cancelled their moon program. But this was not the end of the Space Race. It seemed that the United States had won, but the Soviets had an ace in the hole.

They switched from the exploration of the moon to a completely different goal: manned space stations. Salyut 1 was launched on April 19, 1971. The first crew that docked with the station, Soyuz 11, directly achieved a new endurance record of 23 days, the obviously new goal of the Space Race. Sadly, the crew of Soyuz 11 died at re-entry due to an open valve.

As the United States launched their first space station, Skylab, in 1973, the Soviet Union already had Salyut 2 in orbit and gained a lot of experience in long time stays in microgravity and about operating space stations. But Salyut 2 was still a small station compared to Skylab and had much in common with the first one of its name. So it was not very surprising that the first crew of Skylab set a new endurance record in 1973.

After the United States stopped their Apollo-based flights with the Apollo-Soyuz-Test-Project (ASTP) in 1975 to wait for their new Space Transportation System or Space Shuttle, the Soviet Union continued their space station program with a steady pace.

In regular intervals, new stations were orbited and each of them incorporated improvements and new features. With Salyut 6, launched in 1977, the Soviets entered a new phase. This was the first station that had two docking ports, so it could be replenished by unmanned cargo transports as well as receiving guests on an additional Soyuz ferry.

The Space Race practically ended with the mothballing of Skylab but still both states walked somewhat side by side: both opened their spacecrafts to international guests. The Soviet Union started their Intercosmos program in 1978 with the first flight of a Czech cosmonaut, Vladimir Remek, the Space Shuttle saw the first non-American to fly in 1983, German Ulf Merbold.

Although during the first half of the 1980s the rivalry between both countries grew over again, the signs of a new Space Race were only a short flame up: Neither the United States with their space station Freedom, nor the Soviet Union with their Shuttle-craft Buran had the will or money to push these programs through.

With the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, a new era was to become reality. US-built rockets like the Atlas flew with Russian-built engines. The Space Shuttle docked with the Mir space station and Americans stayed for 6 months onboard the station while Russian cosmonauts flew on the Shuttle.

And today we have the International Space Station ISS. But this was only the end of the first part: A new Space Race already waited on the horizon. To be more precise, not only one, but instead three Space Races would soon become reality. Watch out for the next parts of the Space Race. Klaus Schmidt.

Vostok 6, the final Vostok flight

Vostok 6, the final Vostok flight, was the first human spaceflight mission to carry a woman - cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova - into space. Her photographs of the horizon from space were later used to identify aerosol layers within the atmosphere. The mission, a joint flight with Vostok 5, was originally conceived as being a joint mission with two Vostoks each carrying a female cosmonaut, but this changed as the Vostok programme experienced cutbacks as a precursor to the retooling of the programme into the Voskhod programme.

The landing site was the Pavinskiy Collective Farm west of Bayevo in the Altai Region. After parachuting from the capsule, Tereshkova barely missed the lake because of strong winds. Apollo 8 was the first human spaceflight mission to escape from the gravitational field of planet Earth; the first to be captured by and escape from the gravitational field of another celestial body; and the first crewed voyage to return to planet Earth from another celestial body - Earth's Moon.

The three-man crew of Mission Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot James Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders became the first humans to see the far side of the Moon with their own eyes, as well as the first humans to see planet Earth from beyond low Earth orbit.

The mission was accomplished with the first manned launch of a Saturn V rocket. Apollo 8 was the second manned mission of the Apollo Program.

Originally planned as a low Earth orbit Lunar Module/Command Module test, the mission profile was changed to the more ambitious lunar orbital flight in August 1968 when the Lunar Module scheduled for the flight became delayed.

The new mission's profile, procedures and personnel requirements left an uncharacteristically short time frame for training and preparation, thus placing more demands than usual on the time, talent, and discipline of the crew. After launching on December 21, 1968, the crew took three days to travel to the Moon. They orbited ten times over the course of 20 hours, during which the crew made a Christmas Eve television broadcast in which they read the first 10 verses from the Book of Genesis.

At the time, the broadcast was the most watched TV program ever. Apollo 8's successful mission paved the way for Apollo 11 to fulfill U.S. President John F. Kennedy's goal of landing a man on the Moon before the end of the decade.

Soyuz 11 was launched on June 6, 1971 with Georgi Dobrovolsky (commander), Vladislav Volkov (flight engineer), and Viktor Patsayev (research engineer). They became the first crew to live and work on a space station, Salyut 1. After their experiments were completed they left the station in their Soyuz spacecraft for their return to earth. A valve opened, caused by the vibrations of the separation the descent module from the orbital module (the two pressurized modules of a Soyuz spacecraft) before re-entry.

This valve is designed to open after landing to equalize pressure inside the cabin with the outside. It is believed that the crew died within 45 seconds. Patsayev was found with a bruised hand which may have been caused from his attempt to manually close the valve, which is a lengthy procedure. Ground controllers were unaware of any trouble until they opened the hatch of Soyuz 11, only to find the three cosmonauts had died.

Salyut 1

They became the first crew to live and work on a space station, Salyut 1. After their experiments were completed they left the station in their Soyuz spacecraft for their return to earth. A valve opened, caused by the vibrations of the separation the descent module from the orbital module (the two pressurized modules of a Soyuz spacecraft) before re-entry.

This valve is designed to open after landing to equalize pressure inside the cabin with the outside. It is believed that the crew died within 45 seconds. Patsayev was found with a bruised hand which may have been caused from his attempt to manually close the valve, which is a lengthy procedure. Ground controllers were unaware of any trouble until they opened the hatch of Soyuz 11, only to find the three cosmonauts had died.

The pinnacle of Soviet space exploration was the Mir space station, the core module being launched in 1986, and in that same year took part in the first transfer of a cosmonaut from one space station (Mir) to another (still orbiting and active Salyut 7). The station had originally been designed to be a modular station that could have up to five add-on modules installed, and achieved its maximum size in 1996 with the final module installed that year.

Since then the station had innumerable problems with reliability and equipment failures, although much experience was gained by the next generation of American astronauts when it came to dealing with space station emergencies (i.e., fires, blackouts, computer failures).

In conclusion, the space race essentially died out with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and was made official when in March 2001 the Mir space station crashed into the Pacific Ocean. And so the United States, along with whatever cooperating countries with sufficient industrial bases or with space programs of their own, will be a major component in constructing the International space station.

Although from the history of cuts to NASA’s budget, the future is looking rather blurry and dim for such a station. Hopefully, exploration of the planets of the solar system will continue into the next century, and the human race can forego nuking itself into oblivion before we can colonize other planets. For now, though, a space station with better longevity than any of the previous ones (Salyut, Skylab, Mir) will be an achievement, maybe even a temporary moon base.

Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed

On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed upon reentry into the earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven crew members. Shortly after the incident, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) was set up to investigate the causes of the disaster. The board summarized its findings in a report released on August 26.

This series of three articles analyzes the report and the accident itself. Part 1 discussed the physical cause of the accident—a breach in the orbiter’s Thermal Protection System caused by a foam strike during the shuttle’s launch. The second part analyzes schedule pressures and the reaction of shuttle engineers and management after the launch.

The third and final part looks at the underlying cause of the accident: the subordination of the scientific purposes of the shuttle to a political and economic system dominated by the demands of private profit. Contributing to the events that led to the Columbia accident was the extraordinary pressure that NASA was placed under to meet a strict launch schedule.

As mentioned in the first article of this series, this pressure led NASA management to downgrade the significance of previous foam strikes on the orbiter. It also affected the way NASA management reacted to the discovery of the strike on Columbia—their main concern was not for the safety of the crew but the impact the incident would have on future launches.

The pressure came directly from the Bush administration, channeled through the Bush-appointed NASA administrator, Sean O’Keefe. The administration presented NASA with an ultimatum: either it had to prove that it could complete the first phase of the International Space Station (ISS) by February 19, 2004—and do this without significant cost overruns—or it risked a sharp cut in budget financing or perhaps an elimination of the manned space program as a whole. The number of launches that NASA needed to complete by February to meet its goal meant that any unforeseen incidents on any of the orbiters would throw the whole schedule off.

The US Space program has usually been less than 1% of the US Budget and yet it provides countless benefits in space exploration, improvement of life technologies, greening of the planet and changing of lives for better stewardship of the planet. This article and others in this section are provided to teach an awareness of why the US space program is so important, what lessons we can all learn and how we can apply them to our own lives.

One of the burning questions that has been the same for the last 40+ years is: "Why go into space when we have so many problems here on Earth?" That is a fair question, and worth answering. There are four primary reasons for space exploration. 1. The exploration of a new frontier. 2. For all of amazing technologies and products that improve our lives here on earth. 3. For the greening of the planet technology advancements. 4. Changing of lives for better stewardship of the planet.

Not only is it fun to learn new things that can help us grow as a species, it is a core need of the human race to explore. Now, let's explore the other reasons for space exploration in more depth. There have been thousands of technology "spin-offs" from the US Space Program that that has improved national security, the economy, productivity lifestyles and more.

It is difficult to find an area of everyday life that hasn't been improved by these spin-offs. Collectively, these applications represent a dramatic return on the national investment in aerospace research. For example, out of a $2.4 trillion budget for 2005, less than 0.8% was spent on the entire space program! That's less than 1 penny for every dollar spent.

And not much has changed from then...except that the technology improvements keep coming. And that last point is key! Most people do not know the tremendous advancement of environmentally friendly technical advancements (and other technology advancements) that are a direct offspring from the US Space Program. This article has been written to raise awareness.

It has been conservatively estimated by U.S. space experts that for every dollar the U.S. spends on Research and Development in the US Space Program, it receives $7 back in the form of corporate and personal income taxes from increased jobs and economic growth. Besides the obvious jobs created in the aerospace industry, thousands more jobs are created by many other companies applying NASA technology in non-space related areas that affect us daily. Second, there have been a great number of lives improved lifestyles of the less fortunate. Finally, many lives have been saved by the technology improvements.

How do we put a number on those benefits? In summary: The technology and knowledge gained from US Space Program benefits everyone! Think Green: As you read the following excerpts about the advancements and improvements derived from the US Space Program: "think green!" Ask yourself: How much money is going to be invested in "going green" this year and the coming years to respect and improve the planet? And, is it being investing in the right areas? There is no question that proper stewardship of our planet is important.

However, the question that needs to be asked is: Where can we get the most leverage for our tax dollars to improve our planet? For more exploration of this question please see: The American Space Program - Why Invest? Now, here are just a handful of benefits provided by the US Space Program.

Environmentally Friendly Technologies - NASA Spin-offs Solar Energy - NASA has pioneered photovoltaic power systems for spacecraft applications. Solar energy technology has been developed for space programs to expand terrestrial applications where no other long term energy sources exist. Forest Management - A satellite scanning system has been developed that monitors and maps forestation.

It detects radiation reflected and emitted from trees. Oil Spill Control - The concept was invented by Petrol Rem, Inc. of Pittsburgh, Penn. Also, Marshall Space Flight Center and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory helped to design the tiny beeswax balls (microcapsules). These microcapsules made of beeswax are designed so that water can't get in, but oil can.

The micro-organisms inside release enzymes that digest the oil when the oil seeps through the shell. Once the balls are full of digested oil, they explode. The microcapsules release enzymes, carbon dioxide and water, all environmentally safe. The residue is even eatable fish food! Fishing from Orbit - A series of satellites were launched in 1972 by NASA to observe the changing conditions of the earth's surface.

The ability to monitor changes to the earth for a long period of time provides invaluable information such as: preserving wildlife, monitoring air and water pollution, mapping the growth of cities, flood control and more.

Feeding Our World-And Prepping to Feed Other Worlds - Disney and NASA are working together in a unique partnership. They are striving to find ways to use human and industrial waste to provide the ingredients needed for growing edible plants. This technology will be needed for establishing human colonies on other worlds. Other spin-offs include: Environmental Control Sensors, energy saving air conditioning, air purification, sewage treatment, pollution control and measuring devices, a whale identification method, and a earthquake prediction system.

Here are more benefits of the US Space Program Consumer Benefits NASA Spin-Offs Cordless Power Tools and Appliances - A key technological advance made the battery-powered drill possible -- a computer program was used to design the drill's motor to use as little power as possible. At Home Smoke Detector - NASA needed a smoke and fire detector for Skylab, which was America's first space station.

Honeywell, Inc. developed the unit for NASA. Home Insulation - Space technology and other high tech ideas have been used to provide significant savings in home heating and cooling costs. A NASA-derived Barrier to Radiation is designed to reflect away 95 percent of the sun's radiant energy.

Clean Water for the Home - During the Apollo program, NASA developed a system to sterilize the astronauts' drinking water. This method included the use of ions (an atom or group of atoms carrying a positive or negative electrical charge) as part of the water filtering system. This and other technologies are used for the in home systems.

Other Consumer Spin-offs include: Scratch resistant lenses, water purification system, high-density batteries, trash compactors, shock-absorbing helmets, home security systems, composite golf clubs, smoke detectors, flat panel televisions, freeze-dried technology, sports bras, hang gliders, quartz crystal timing equipment, and more.

Even more benefits of the US Space Program Medicine Benefits NASA Spin-offs Digital Imaging Breast Biopsy System - One of many technology spin-offs from the Hubble telescope is the use of its Charge Coupled Device (CCD) chips for digital imaging breast biopsies. This device images breast tissue more clearly and efficiently than other existing technologies. More than 500,000 women need biopsies a year.

The economic and emotional benefits are huge. This technology greatly reduces the pain, scarring, radiation exposure, time, and money associated with surgical biopsies. Laser Angioplasty - Laser angioplasty with a "cool" type of laser, doesn't damage blood vessel walls.

It ensures non-surgical cleanings of clogged arteries with extraordinary precision and fewer complications than with balloon angioplasty. Camera on a Chip - Physicians soon may end up tracking the onset of osteoporosis using "camera-on-a-chip" technology developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

It was originally developed for recording images in space. Other spin-offs include: Eye Screening, Ultrasound scanners, MRI, cataract surgery tools, arteriosclerosis detection, automatic insulin pump, portable x-ray device and clean room apparel. Computer Technology - NASA Spin-Offs - Virtual Reality, Microcomputers, Advanced keyboards, Laser Surveying, Compact Disc, Database Management System, Aircraft controls, and Design Graphics, Ground Processing Scheduling System., *1,2 The list goes on and on with Technology Spin-offs in manufacturing technology, public safety, transportation and much more.

Other Benefits of the US Space Program The Greening of the Astronauts: Beyond just the technology improvements, many of the Astronauts have developed a higher consciousness and a need to help out the planet earth.

The impact of their experiences are significantly different however, there is an inevitable consequence of space flight. *3 "You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world and a compulsion to do something about it." ~~ Ed Mitchell (Apollo 14 Moonwalker) In Summary: The US Space Program has usually been less than 1% of the US Budget and yet it provides overwhelming benefits in space exploration, improvement of life technologies, greening of the planet and changing of lives for better stewardship of the planet.

Imagine if the other 99% of the US Budget was invested as wisely and provided as many stunning results. Where we would be today? The early space program did a great job of improving technology and marketing why it was needed. Wernher Von Braun (head of the Marshall Center) and others clearly understood: No Bucks, No Buck Rogers! In the past few decades the improvements keep coming, but the marketing has been dismal.

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