Space exploration has a fascinating history and will continue into the future with many nations now involved in the International Space Station and the exploration of Mars.
Humans have explored space for thousands of years. In early times, they used their eyes to look at the heavens. The invention of the telescope allowed a deeper exploration of space. In more recent times, spacecraft and people have explored space.
Ancient civilisations studied the patterns of stars in the sky and observed the position of the Sun and the Moon. Earty astronomers believed that the Sun, Moon and planets revolved around Earth.
Nicolas Copernicus was the first astronomer to realise that Earth, other planets and moons revolved around the Sun. The invention of the telescope in the early 1600s allowed astronomers like Galileo Galilei to make discoveries about other planets
and our solar system.
Probes, rockets and satellites are modem ways of exploring space. After the first unmanned spacecraft was launched successfully, people also went into space. Astronauts orbited the Earth and landed on its Moon. The next step was for longer stays in space aboard the space shuttle and the International Space Station. Now humans want to explore the furthest reaches of our solar system and the wider universe.
Amazing Facts about Space :
Before people ventured into spoce, scientists sent animals, so they could observe how the animals coped with being in spoce. The dog, Laika, was the first mammal from Earth to orbit the planet. Laika died from stress and overheating during her 1957 space mission in the Russian spacecraft Sputnik 2.
As telescopes have become more powerful, they have allowed us to observe planets, galaxies and nebulae in greater detail. In 1990 the Hubble telescope was sent into orbit
Galileo discovered four moons orbiting Jupiter in January 1610.
The Indian Astronomical Observatory which sits 4517 metres above sea level, in Hanle,
India, is the world's highest observatory telescope.
Amateur astronomers use refracting telescopes The earliest telescopes were all refracting
telescopes including the famous and very simple telescope used by Galileo Galilei in the early 1600s.
The Keck telescopes, the world's largest optical telescopes, are located on the dormant Mauna Kea volcano on the island of Hawaii.
Hubble is the size of a large school bus. It fits inside the cargo bay of a space shuttle.
The Hubble Space Telescope spotted young brown dwarfs for the first time in the Orion Nebula. Brown dwarfs are so-called failed stars because they are too small to be ordinary stars — they cannot sustain nuclear fusion in their cores the way our Sun does.
Hubble is serviced and newer technology is installed by astronouts on space walks. This
means that Hubble can benefit from the same advances as ground-based telescopes.
The Hubble Space Telescope completes one full orbit of Earth every 97 minutes.
A three-stage rocket, Saturn V, was used to take astronauts to the Moon in the Apollo
spacecraft. Stage 1 burnt its fuel over 2 minutes and 30 seconds - then separated from the rest of the rocket ond fell back to Earth. Stage 2 then fired and lifted the astronauts into space. It too fell away. Finally, Stage 3 fired for 2 minutes and 30 seconds and sent Apollo into orbit around Earth. Stage 3 fired again for over five minutes to send Apollo
towards the Moon. It then fell away from the spacecraft. All spacecraft and satellites are taken into space by rockets.
The largest and most powerful rocket ever built was the Saturn V rocket.