That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.
- Neil Armstrong.
Mankind has always been excited about exploring the unknown. For millennia, humans have been looking up to the skies, wondering what is out there in the universe, and imagining the glory of the moon and stars. Just hearing the word “space”, what is the incident that you would remember ultimately? For me, it is space exploration. Do you know what it is?
Space exploration is the combined use of astronomy and space technology to explore and investigate outer space performed mainly by astronomers with the use of telescopes and other advanced implements like spaceflights, robotic space probes, etc.
When we just look at history, the first human-made object to enter space was the Bumper-WAC which reached an altitude of 393 kilometers (244 mi) in 1949. Proceeding more, the Soviet uncrewed Sputnik 1 ("Satellite 1") mission was successfully launched on October 4th, 1957. Then Vostok 1 ("East 1") was declared as the first successful human spaceflight with Yuri Gagarin, on April 12th, 1961. The first astronomical body exploration was landing on the moon. It was Luna 2 in 1959. Also, Salyut 1 was the first space station launched by the Soviet Union on April 19, 1971.
It is mandatory to mention the key personalities in space voyages when we investigate this topic. Some of them were Yuri Gagarin, Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Valentina Tereshkova, Alexei Leonov, Ed White, Neil Armstrong, Sally Ride, etc. Did you ever know that without space voyages we wouldn’t have a lot of our knowledge or technology? We can identify vast no of benefits of space exploration such as Improving health care, protecting our planet and our environment, emerging scientific and technical jobs, enhancing our day-to-day lives, ensuring safety on Earth, making scientific discoveries, increasing youth's interest in science, and cooperating with countries around the world.
Now let us step up into some recent space explorations which raise the pride and glory of mankind further. In October 2021, scientists published an article mentioning the first-ever discovery of an exoplanet outside of our galaxy. And another rocking discovery was 27 possible rogue planets. They are floating freely in space and aren't bound to a star. Last year, researchers explored the first known Moon-forming disk around a planet outside the solar system. The Discovery of Comet Berardinelli-Bernstein was significant in 2021. Very recently, James Webb Space Telescope (JWS) was launched into space. Another remarkable incident was the arrival of NASA's Perseverance rover on Mars. And last but not least, a close-known black hole to Earth, now called "The Unicorn” was also identified last year.
A fascinating year has arrived with many glowing expectations. While 2021 was a remarkable year with more and more space discoveries, let us look forward to 2022 to proceed even more. The first Starship orbital launch will be carried out this year. The robotic Nova-C lunar lander is targeted to land on the moon to perform research. And the first space launch system mission, an uncrewed lunar flyby mission called Artemis 1 is also planned to launch this year. Apart from that The European Space Agency's (ESA) Jupiter Icy moons Explorer (JUICE) mission is scheduled to launch in May 2022 to study moons of Jupiter. The United Launch Alliance (ULA) is planning to launch its new Vulcan Centaur rocket this year. Also, Dream Chaser which is a private spacecraft from Sierra Nevada Corp will be getting ready to start flying missions to the International Space Station this year.
Space exploration is beyond our fantasy imaginations. Overcrowding stars, galaxies, planets, and mysteries in outer space is not readily perceptible and investigating everything that forms our world would be nearly impractical. space voyages allow us to solve the wonders and to get a broader view of the universe in which we live today. All matters in the universe are illuminating while merging as one singularity undergoing a rapid expansion, finally reaching the universe we stand on today.
It is a fixer-upper of a planet, but we could make it work.