The Next Frontier

So we all think of outer space as the next frontier for humankind, and for over half a century humankind has been vigilant about getting out there and exploring the great barriers beyond us on earth. So what is next for us and our adventures with space travelling and exploration, and I think everyone is on the same page that more and more people want to experience going to outer space as a more casual tourism experience.

There are those like Richard Branson who has started doing this kind of thing for the wealthiest of the wealthy who want to go to outer space and experience a loss of gravity, or even go into a space station orbiting around the earth. There is this really interesting way that things are orbiting around the earth while the earth is orbiting around the sun while the sun orbits around, another star or galaxy or the center of the universe. It’s always going to be a really interesting concept to talk about how our space stations stay safe and how many people we can start hosting at a time in these space stations.

One day we hope to have space cities and communities that can live outside the confines of earth just like we see in many science fiction movies and books like Star Wars and Star Trek, but of course this is still a pretty long ways away, but not necessarily. Right now we are at the very beginning of getting regular people, otherwise non as non-astronauts, into the outer realms of the earth’s atmosphere and sending them into weightlessness for a considerable amount of time before coming back down to earth Voyager style. Of course there is definitely a lot of risk in going to outer space as we know from more recent science fiction movies like Gravity and Interstellar, but the point is that we are all of a sudden getting to a really interesting point in human history in which space travel is becoming more and more likely for more and more people.

There is something happening right now within the international space community that is making headlines that is very important to the whole entire idea of space travel, and more importantly who owns the rights to ‘near-Earth objects’ that are floating around in earth’s orbital field and beyond. What is so crazy to think is that there is so much space between the earth and the moon, and of course anything that is within the earth in the moon is within earth’s orbital field, so there’s literally millions of square miles in which random things are floating around earth and just stuck near us just like the moon is stuck to us in orbit. The moon is definitely an interesting concept to think about, and when we always look at the moon a lot of us begin to wonder about what exactly is outer space like, and it’s so exciting that we can now put action to those thoughts and experience outer space if we just so happen to have a bunch of money that we are willing to spend on things like this.

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Return to The Moon?

America had plans on returning back to the moon during the Bush administration in 2004. However, none of President Bush’s plans came to fruition. By the time President Obama came into office he no longer wanted to put people back onto the moon. Instead, he turned his focus to a Mars landing by the year 2030. While it is true that Americans can really go back to the moon if they so desired, for some reason (besides funding) they are intentionally avoiding a second trip. Could this be part of a conspiracy or cover up? After all, some officials have claimed that the whole moon landing was staged due to the presence of other worldly activity. This is a huge conspiracy theory that is starting to gain more ground.

Space Exploration in the 2000s

The 2000s opened up commercial space travel. The Russians sent an American man named Dennis Tito into space in 2001. He paid $20 million dollar for this commercial flight. In 2010 a private company named Space X sent its own spacecraft into orbit. This was the first commercial space organization to do this.

In 2001 President Bush proposed to send people back to the moon by 2015 but this never happened under President Obama’s leadership. President Obama signed legislation in 2010 for a future Mars journey by 2030.

NASA sent a super robot to explore Mars in 2011. This robotic figure is named Curiosity and it reached Mars in 2012. This robot is like a scout that is gathering information for the future Mars journey that is supposed to take place in 2030.

Space Exploration and the Future

The future of space travel is starting to become more exciting. America is expected to send people to Mars in the not too distant future. This is going to be the biggest and busiest trip that is going to tie space programs up for many years into the future.

Commercial travel into space is going to become commercialized. An American millionaire already paid the Russians for the first commercial flight. As long as people have that kind of money to spend commercial space travel will become a reality. Commercial space travel companies such as Space X is already experimenting with commercial flight enterprises. Between 2001 and 2009 many commercial space flights were being made. Once again, if people had at least $20 million dollars to spend on this type of trip they could definitely make the journey. Space tourism is still in its infancy stages and only 7 people have actually visited space as tourists. Currently many space companies are taking deposits for future space travel. These deposits are being used to fund programs and is helping to establish the future of commercial space travel.

Space travelers might visit distant planets beyond Mars well into the future. That would be extremely improbable for now. Currently, going to Mars, commercial space flights and exploring asteroids are the primary objects of the space program and travel. This once was just in comic books and stories but is now becoming a reality as we continue to explore.

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Landed on the Moon

America Makes a Great Runner Up

America was lagging behind the Russians in the space program until 1969 when astronaut Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon in 1969. Earlier in 1968 Apollo 8 became the first spacecraft to orbit the moon and this was an American vessel. Eugene Cernan and Harrison “Jack” Schmitt were the last men to walk on the moon in 1972. The US launched Skylab in 1972 which was there first space station. In 1976 the Viking 2 was the first probe to discover water on the surface of Mars. In 1980 Voyager 1 began to take photos of Mars. The first space shuttle named Columbia was launched by the US. Guion Bluford became the first African-American in space in 1983. Voyager 2 began transmitting images from Uranus in the year 1984 and by the surface of Venus was being mapped out by the Magellan spacecraft. This vessel performed this job by using radar equipment.

While it is true that Russia was dominating the space program for many years the Americans eventually took over led the way. Russia is still a strong force in space exploration and travel but they are now more cooperative with other programs from around the world.

America makes sure that other nations are involved in the process of space travel. This way they can continue to lead the way in space exploration and travel. America’s dominance in space is helping the nation to become a strong political and economic power well into the future.

Moon Landing: America takes the Lead for Space Exploration

Once America was able to put a man on the moon they started to take control of the space program. However, they still were lagging behind the Russians in many ways. It was not until the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s that the American space program took lead. Once this happened America was able to take control of a lot exploration and travel missions. Russia still continued to travel into space but it was not to the extent of its former days of their program.

Money Problems and the Moon

The United States stopped sending people to the moon because the nation could no longer afford to do so. During the late 50s and 60s the race to the moon was in full swing. Not only was the US government involved in this effort so was the American public. Remember, NASA is basically a public organization with government oversight.

Many American citizens did not mind spending the huge sum of money to send people into outer space while they were competing with the Russians. However, this all changed by the begging of the 70s. There was a lot of cynicism with the American government during this time because of the Vietnam War. As a result many Americans no longer trusted the government with funds for spending on the space program. The US wisely paid attention to what the public was saying and no longer sent people to the moon.

NASA

The US had one single space agency known as NASA. It was a public enterprise. The US also wanted a multinational effort for space exploration. Russia was invited to this party but refused to come. Russia did not want to be a part of American way of doing things and they had the advantage on the US and its allies at the time. Once again there were many talks between the US and Russia about a joint effort for space exploration but not of these sessions proved to be fruitful. Both countries could not agree on conditions and terms and they also strongly competed with one another due to the Cold War.

The Importance of Solar Technology to the Space Program

One important discovery to space travel was solar technology. This type of technology was needed to ensure that astronauts could remain in space for a period of time with a permanent power supply. Solar power used panels attached to spacecraft and vehicles to provide electricity for operating equipment. Hans Ziegler invented this technology. He was a German scientist that helped the Americans to gain the advantage of space flight after World War II.

Russia Leads the Way

Russia was the first country to send a man into space. They not only sent the first man, they sent a woman, dog and a satellite into into the heavens. The Russians were on top of their game when the program first began. In 1961 cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin went into outer space. He was the first man to control a spacecraft in the history of mankind. Sputnik was the name of the spacecraft that he manned. Valentina Tereshkova was a former Russian cosmonaut that went into space in 1963. She stayed in space for close to 3 days before returning to Earth. Cosmonaut Alexey Leonov was the first person to walk in space. He made this walk in 1965.

Lakia was the first animal in space. This dog went on the Sputnik 2 before Gagarin’s flight in 1961. She died while in orbit. Unfortunately, Lakia was just an experimental animal for space travel. It was necessary for this animal to be launched into space so that Russian scientist could ensure that humans could survive this type of travel. The Russians also launched the first intercontinental missile. The Luna 2 was the first spacecraft to reach the moon. Once again, it was another major accomplishment by the Russians. In 1970 the Russians sent the first moon rover to the moon through the Lunokhod program.

They also has the first lunar soft landing in 1966 and they took the fist pictures of the far side of the moon in 1959. In 1971 they launched the first space station. It is fair to say that the Russians led the way in the discovery and exploration of space. Their efforts helped to revolutionize space travel as a whole.

Space Travel

People have always been intrigued by space travel. They have looked to the stars for thousands of years and what lies in the heavens. Ancient man believed that universe above the Earth belonged to their gods. Other people looked at the sky with great awe and fear. Humans could not travel into the universe in the past. With the use of modern technology they can now perform this feat. Space travel is an important part of mankind’s existence.

People have only been traveling into space for less than 55 years. This is is short amount of time when compared to the rest of history. Space travel is still fairly new and its history is still being written. Here is brief overview of space travel and the achievements that have been made with this new frontier of exploration.

Exploration and the Human Need for Discovery

People have been exploring the world for thousands of years and space exploration is just a natural progression for human activity. The universe is a vast place that requires technology to travel through the stars. Before the discovery of human flight by the Orville Brothers and experiments with rockets this was impossible. Once flight technology was invented it allowed people to reach the heavens. Space exploration had become a reality. Now that man can explore space, governments are making calculated trips in the discovery of new planets and different parts of the solar system.

Why did Nations want to go into Space?

Space travel was born from man’s need to visit the heavens. It also was an extension of a nation’s power at the time. Nationalism was strong during the late 19th to mid 20th centuries. The United States and Russia were two countries that were considered superpowers during that period in time. These nations had fought in both world wars and had established themselves as leaders in the world.

Around the time that the space exploration started to take both nations were fighting each other indirectly for influence over the Earth. Russia was pushing a communist, socialist agenda and the US endorsed democracy and capitalism. These two countries were locked in a Cold War were both sides were in conflict with each other in terms of political maneuvering and displays of power.

One way that the US and Russia fought one another was through the creation of space programs. Both sides wanted to be the first to send people into outer space. Both sides created and invented technology that would allow them to travel to space to claim this honor. Even though the motives for exploration might have been tainted with national dominance; their efforts had helped to propel the world into a new era of existence.

Russia and America: The First Space Programs

Russia and America had the first space programs. Both of these countries were the only major superpowers of the time that had the technology, knowledge, trained professionals and income to send people into space.

Russia’s program in the 1930s and it was extremely successful. The Russians space program was actually boosted by captured German scientists from World War II who helped the Russian scientists to better understand rocketry and its importance to space flight. America also had taken German scientists back to the US and they taken their documents on rocketry as well. The former Russian space program was controlled by seven different agencies. It was also a top secret military operation.