Space exploration

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**History of Space Exploration:**
– In 1608, the first telescope was invented by Hans Lippershey.
– Galileo Galilei used the telescope for astronomy in 1609.
– Isaac Newton built the first reflecting telescope in 1668.
– The Orbiting Astronomical Observatory 2 was launched in 1968.
– The Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990.

**Milestones in Space Exploration:**
– The V-2 rocket reached outer space in 1944, marking the first sub-orbital spaceflight.
– Sputnik 1 was the first successful orbital launch in 1957.
– Yuri Gagarin completed the first human spaceflight in Vostok 1 in 1961.
– Voyager 1 left the Solar System for interstellar space in 2012.
– Apollo 13 set the record for the farthest humans traveled from Earth in 1970.

**Exploration of Celestial Bodies:**
– Luna 2 reached the Moon in 1959.
– Luna 9 performed the first soft landing on the Moon in 1966.
– Apollo 11 landed humans on the Moon in 1969.
– Mariner 2 provided data on Venus during its flyby in 1962.
– Voyager 1 is the most distant human-made object from Earth, at 159 AU as of November 2022.

**Space Stations and Missions:**
– Salyut 1 was the first space station launched by the Soviet Union in 1971.
– The International Space Station is the largest and oldest fully functional space station since 2000.
China’s Tiangong space station is now fully crewed and operational.
– Probes and human missions have explored Earth orbit, the Moon, and the Solar System.
– Uncrewed spacecraft have orbited Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury.

**Focus Areas in Space Exploration:**
– Space exploration focuses on the Sun to study solar wind and radiations.
– Parker Solar Probe will approach the Sun closely.
– Mercury is the least explored Terrestrial planet.
– Venus has been explored by multiple flyby and lander missions.
– Earth observation satellites provide data on Earth’s surface.

Space exploration (Wikipedia)

Space exploration is the use of astronomy and space technology to explore outer space. While the exploration of space is currently carried out mainly by astronomers with telescopes, its physical exploration is conducted both by uncrewed robotic space probes and human spaceflight. Space exploration, like its classical form astronomy, is one of the main sources for space science.

Buzz Aldrin taking a core sample of the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission
Self-portrait of Curiosity rover on Mars's surface

While the observation of objects in space, known as astronomy, predates reliable recorded history, it was the development of large and relatively efficient rockets during the mid-twentieth century that allowed physical space exploration to become a reality. Common rationales for exploring space include advancing scientific research, national prestige, uniting different nations, ensuring the future survival of humanity, and developing military and strategic advantages against other countries.

The early era of space exploration was driven by a "Space Race" between the Soviet Union and the United States. A driving force of the start of space exploration was during the Cold War. After the ability to create nuclear weapons, the narrative of defense/offense left land and the power to control the air became the focus. Both the Soviet and the U.S. were fighting to prove their superiority in technology through exploring the unknown: space. In fact, the reason NASA was made was due to the response of Sputnik I. The launch of the first human-made object to orbit Earth, the Soviet Union's Sputnik 1, on 4 October 1957, and the first Moon landing by the American Apollo 11 mission on 20 July 1969 are often taken as landmarks for this initial period. The Soviet space program achieved many of the first milestones, including the first living being in orbit in 1957, the first human spaceflight (Yuri Gagarin aboard Vostok 1) in 1961, the first spacewalk (by Alexei Leonov) on 18 March 1965, the first automatic landing on another celestial body in 1966, and the launch of the first space station (Salyut 1) in 1971. After the first 20 years of exploration, focus shifted from one-off flights to renewable hardware, such as the Space Shuttle program, and from competition to cooperation as with the International Space Station (ISS).

With the substantial completion of the ISS following STS-133 in March 2011, plans for space exploration by the U.S. remain in flux. Constellation, a Bush administration program for a return to the Moon by 2020 was judged inadequately funded and unrealistic by an expert review panel reporting in 2009. The Obama administration proposed a revision of Constellation in 2010 to focus on the development of the capability for crewed missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO), envisioning extending the operation of the ISS beyond 2020, transferring the development of launch vehicles for human crews from NASA to the private sector, and developing technology to enable missions to beyond LEO, such as Earth–Moon L1, the Moon, Earth–Sun L2, near-Earth asteroids, and Phobos or Mars orbit.

In the 2000s, China initiated a successful crewed spaceflight program while India launched Chandraayan 1, while the European Union and Japan have also planned future crewed space missions. China, Russia, and Japan have advocated crewed missions to the Moon during the 21st century, while the European Union has advocated crewed missions to both the Moon and Mars during the 20th and 21st century.

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