In modern times we look to the sky for our unanswered questions that earth’s resources cannot answer. In the wake of the pursuit of knowledge we travel to the far reaches of outer space, despite the impending doom that potentially follows said expedition. Many brave souls have tried and failed to unlock the answers to these questions but as our technology advances, the thought of going further and finding what’s out there becomes more palpable. As time goes on and we diminish our resources on this earth, the topic of space travel becomes more and more relevant. Who cares about traveling into outer space when we are flourishing on earth? If that were the case, the thought of space travel is reserved only for science-fiction writers; But that is not the case. Our earth is dying and there is proof for that. What needs to be done is find ways to plant the seed of mankind on the outreaches of this galaxy to preserve the human race. By examining space explorations long diverse history, the effect it has on the culture, and it’s undiscovered mysteriousness, it is evident that in the future they will be diving into the great abyss of the unknown space void and answer it’s most curious questions.
Space travel began in the mid 20th century on October 4, 1957 the Soviet Union launched the first artificial Satellite to travel into space, Sputnik. Sputnik is a space probe which is an unmanned vehicle (Space). The U.S. has also flown probes into Mercury’s orbit close to the sun as well as landed probes on Mars. Probes have also helped do missions that have been considered too dangerous for humans to accomplish such as investigating the edges of our solar system, landing on asteroids and taking samples from a commit (Space). Nearly a decade later the U.S. began their race to the moon on December 21, 1968 when the United States launched Apollo 8, the first manned voyage to the moon. It orbited the moon 8 times but did not to the surface then returned safely to the earth (Space). On July 20, 1969 the United States made world History when we landed on the moon. United States Astronaut Neil Amsrong was the first man in history to step foot on the moon. The ship that made this historic voyage was the Apollo 11. The U.S. would have more landings on the moon before the lunar program was cancelled in 1972 (Space). The mid-to-late 20th century was devoted to experimenting on how humans lived in space.
The United States has many projects that have the potential to hurl us into the future of space exploration. One such project is the Artemis program. The reason this project is called Artemis is because the first astronauts who landed on the moon were on the Apollo mission. Apollo is a greek god who had a twin sister named Artemis. The crew on this mission will be landing at the South pole of our moon (Wild). The spacecraft that will be used for the Artemis program is called the Space launch system. It is the most powerful launching system in the world. At the stop of the rocket will sit the Orion, the spacecraft that will be housing the Astronauts on their mission to the moon. Orion will take them to the moon where there they will dock or connect to a spaceship called the Getaway. There, the 4 Astronauts will live on the Getaway and orbit the moon. They will also be taking frequent trips aboard spacecraft called landers to the moon’s surface to conduct research or work. After they have finished working on the moon they will return to Earth (Wild). The Orion spaceship that is going to take the Astronauts to the moon is going to be their home until they get to the getaway, it will bring the astronauts safely back to earth once their work on the moon is finished, and it will act as an emergency vehicle if anything goes wrong whilst on the moon. The ship itself is comprised of three parts: The past at the top of the ship is the launch abort system. It acts as a safety rail incase of an emergency. It will pull the Astronauts out of danger. In the middle is the crew module.
The crew module is where the four Astronauts will be sitting as well as thriving while they are on their journey to the moon. The bottom part of Orion is the service module. Here, the Astronauts will retrieve the stored supplies such as air and water for consumption. The way the ship gets energy and has electricity is by Solar power that is absorbed through a specific geometric shape of two solar panels that are attached to the ship (Wild). NASA can’t just build a spaceship and fly it with astronauts to the moon right away. There are tests that need to be done before it can be used for a mission. The Orion first tested back in 2014 in Florida where it launched off of a rocket and orbited Earth twice where it finally landed in the Pacififc Ocean. All of this test was done without the use of Astronauts. The next test for Orion will be the spaceship orbiting the moon then flying to the moon, circle the moon then return to earth where the spaceship will land safely back on Earth. The estimated time for this test is about three weeks and once this test is complete, the Orion will be ready for Astronauts.
The Orion will then be on a mission named the Artemis two (WIld). This is the one with Astronauts as well as one that will only last 10 days versus the 21 day voyage. The 3rd mission is the Artemis lll where the Astronauts will travel to the Gateway and live there and perform experiments on the moon until they are finished. The scheduled launch is after 2024. On their way back to Earth they will be flying in the Orion. Another project of NASA’s is their Juno project. Juno is a Spacecraft that is exploring Jupiter. Juno itself launched in 2011 but took 5 years to get there and arrived at Jupiter in 2016. It is called Juno because in Roman mythology the god Jupiter (Zeus) had a wife, Juno, who would see directly through the clouds that Jupiter himself put up so he could cause trouble behind them. Similar to that, Juno the spacecraft will be looking through the clouds of planet Jupiter to help scientists study what might be beneath the clouds of Jupiter (Wild). Juno is a type of spacecraft that does not land on the planet but instead orbits it. The images that Juno takes of Jupiter will help Scientists figure out how Jupiter was created as well as how it has changed over the years. Because Juno is so far out by Jupiter it can also take pictures of planets not in our solar system so that we may better understand our own solar system better (Wild).
Looking beyond our solar system exists an abnormality that still has experts confused and puzzled that leaves more questions than answers about black holes. Although there is much that we do not know, there is some information we have figured out. Black holes are formed when the nuclear energy is expended from a star and the pressure builds up to densities of astronomical amounts. Usually if this happens a small white dwarf may form but if the pressure goes over 3 solar masses a black hole may form (Wild). Scientists believe that at every center of a large galaxy lies a super massive black hole.Their masses are estimated to be billions of times greater than that of our sun. The black hole theory was created by Karl Schawrzchild off of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. Black holes are so dark that light cannot pass through a black ole which makes them undetectable if we were trying to locate them directly. According to our own theories of general relativity, gravity modifies space and time near a black hole. If our relativity theory is correct, time itself will completely stop to distant observers upon arrival of the event horizon (Wild).
Space travel and space itself have left an enormous impact on our everyday pop culture such as movies and music. An infamous instant of this is the original Star Wars series. The original trilogy is the story of Luke Skywalker who must unite with some buddies of his and destroy a planet killing ship. Star wars has had a huge impact on our culture today by inspiring independence and sparking imagination among the people who follow the series. From that series two other trilogies have been formed, a huge brand has been made based off it and it even has its own land at Disney world. Why do people care so much? Because people are obsessed over space and the questions it brings. For all we know the Star Wars universe could be real in a galaxy millions of miles away. A movie that tries and takes on the answer of the ethics of colonization as well as the components of a black hole is Interstellar. Interstellar is a movie about a man who tries to get answers from other planets about their ability to support human life. Throughout his experience he travels through a blak hole and visits plants near a black hole so that time on that planet is skewed because of the relativity factor. Once he discovers which planets are able to support life and which ones are not he has to make a decision that could alter the human race. He also dabbles in some 4th Dimension travel which as far as science is concerned, science fiction.