Man has been looking to the stars since before recorded history. Most of our exploration has been through the use of telescopes and simple observation, but in the last hundred years, we have collectively begun to explore through manned spaceflights and with the use of unmanned satellites.
There are space programs in many countries around the world today, with perhaps the most well-known being NASA in the US, the ESA in Europe (run and funded by a conglomerate of European countries), the CNSA in China, JAXA in Japan, the ISRO from India and Roscosmos in Russia.
Historically, the Russians have a lot of ‘firsts’ under their belt in the space exploration arena. The first living Human Being to orbit Earth in 1957, the first manned spaceflight in 1961, the first spacewalk in 1965, the first unmanned landing on a celestial body other than Earth in 1966, and the first space station in 1971 can all be attributed to Russia.
But with Russia’s advancements came a push on the part of the US to excel in space exploration and knowledge. Since those early days of our reach to the stars, the world as a whole has seen a change in the race for knowledge of the galaxy into a cooperation of many nations that wish to have a hand in furthering humankind’s influence in our corner of the universe.
Currently, in the US, Donald Trump has proposed new goals for NASA and space exploration programs that would further propel the US into a state of power in the reaches of space. Proposing to have a new manned mission to the moon, including plans for a permanent moon base, NASA has been careful to provide dates that are flexible to account for finding resolutions to unknown obstacles that may present themselves.
Even private organizations and corporations are now taking part in the exploration of space and space-related technologies. Blue Origin and SpaceX are both private companies that seek to become forerunners in the privatization of space flights and space tourism.
Most people support the funding of space programs, while the exploration and colonization of nearby celestial bodies are seen as necessary by many scientists and astronomers. Stephan Hawking himself was known to have believed that without the expansion of humans into space we would certainly face our demise due to a lack of resources on Earth that can continue supporting our fast-growing population.
Space tourism has become a recent addition to our knowledge and use of the outer atmosphere as well. Many people dream of going to space and a handful of companies have recently unveiled plans for luxury hotels, spaceflights, and private space stations.
Space exploration has introduced so much into our knowledge of the physics of the universe and even our own planetary functions. We have sent many unmanned missions to various planets and comets which have sent information back to scientists here that are able to extrapolate data that will further our future missions to colonize the planets around us. It will be a wonder to see what the next big discovery is, not only for us but for the future of mankind as well.