Exploring our universe
We have all thought about what is up in the place beyond our own skies, in the place that, for humans, starts at outer ozone and stretches beyond the view of any current perceivable view. Even with modern telescopes, we still cannot see the end of the universe. In fact, if there was an end to this universe we live in, we would be a long way away from being able to see it. But we can see out there and some humans have even been able to touch the ground of planets that most of us can only see through a telescope.
Space exploration for humans started in October of 1957 when the first satellite was launched into the Earths orbit. Although it may seem like lifetimes ago, this event was a little over sixty years ago. This artificial satellite was called Sputnik and was launched by the Soviet Union. The sphere was only fifty-eight centimetres wide and broadcasted radio signals that could be picked up by anyone. While it was a success even getting the satellite into the Earth’s orbit, it did not last very long, running out of power only three weeks into its journey before orbiting without transmission for two months before it fell to the Earth, returning home once again. Scientist on Earth used the data that they received from Sputnik to calculate things such as the density of the upper atmosphere from findings. At 18,000 miles per hour, Sputnik 1 managed to complete 1440 orbits of Earths atmosphere before coming down and burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere. This single satellite cause the start of what was known as the space race, a contest of ever-developing technology that only fueled the Cold War between the USA and the Soviet Union that had been raging quietly since the end of World War II.
This space race eventually led the USA putting the first man, or men, on the moon. A crew of just three men, Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Mike Collins, flew to the moon in the Apollo 11. While the names Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong are common place, not many people are aware of the name of the third man, Mike Collins, who made the journey to the moon, only to never set down on the planet. Both Aldrin and Armstrong spent just short of twenty-two hours on the moon, seven of which, the two spent sleeping, their time spent on a site they called Tranquility Base before rejoining with their crewmate in the moons orbit. The first step, as televised, was joined by an iconic line spoken by Neil Armstrong. ‘One small step for man is one giant leap for man kind.’ This line is known by so many across the planet who witnessed this event, and even those in the generations born after. All three of the men returned safely back to Earth. This journey effetively ended the space race between the USA and the USSR.
Even to this day, we are still exploring the solar system that we are living. Sending out cameras, planting a rover on the moon and recruiting new astronauts every day. Hopefully we can continue to stretch our understanding to include the reaches of this galaxy that we live with.