Space was for centuries the great unknown to the human species. The twentieth century will go down in history for having witnessed the passage of the human being to the heavens in the figure of travelers who set course for the dark firmament. From Armstrong to the last Juno satellite to Jupiter, we tell you how it all started. www.travelrows.com
The human was always dangerously attracted to the unknown. The Greeks and Phoenicians ventured across the Mediterranean to find out what was there. The Romans went beyond the North of the Empire, Marco Polo to remote lands of the East and modern navigators sought new routes to the Indies and the new continent. In the Contemporary Age, when the entire planet had already been discovered, the human eagerness to explore virgin places and find new lands led him to look up and direct his effort to explore the heavens.
This is how the twentieth century entered, in the happy twenties, the possibility of traveling to outer space , beyond the atmosphere , began to be considered in a real way . Obviously this was the first objective: to get outside. Jules Verne, Plutarch, Cyrano de Bergerac or Wells had created stories about trips to the moon or outer space. Their literary dreams made them the parents of science fiction, but the real architects were engineers and physicists. Oberth, Potocnik and others began to theorize about the possibility of launching rockets into space . World War II , with its wishes for military advancement and arms development, would be the perfect breeding ground to boost aeronautics.
The race to the moon
In this context of full war, the German A4 rocket (1942) became the first human projectile to reach space , kicking off the space race, first between Germans and Americans. Once the IIGM is closed, it will be the Soviets who took the witness of the Germans to dispute the triumphs of the Americans.
The Mercury Project, the first space travel program in the US
In 1957 the USSR launched Sputnik into space , the first satellite to reach an orbit around the Earth. The Sputnik marked the pride of Soviet and terror of US intelligence. A year later, President Eisenhower sent his Christmas message through SCORE, the first communications satellite. Advances in this race were happening. Fruit flies became the first terrestrial living beings to be sent to space , then came the dog Laika, other dogs, turtles and even chimpanzees.
The trips to the space had two faces divided by the Cold War, and this one became more evident in the manned trips, when they began to send cosmonauts (USSR) and astronauts (USA ). Yuri Gagarin was the first human being to reach outer space in the Vostok in April 1961. The USSR was also the first to take two people simultaneously (1962), to take a woman into space, Valentina Tereshkova (1963) , and in space travel without special costumes. Leonov was the first traveler to take a spacewalk, although his feat almost ended in tragedy over several miscalculations. The USSR then had hegemony over the heavens and although the United States matched its achievements, it always did something later.
The US was focused on its Apollo program with the dispatch of different manned missions that would achieve moon landings. On July 20, 1969, Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins alunizan signing one of the greatest qualitative leaps of humanity: the first time people walked on another celestial body that was not our planet. Armstrong will go on to posterity by saying, ” It’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind .” Although the conspiracy theories are many and highly documented, the evidence suggests that Armstrong really left the first mark on the Moon.
Travel to other planets
Since then the lunar program declined, probably due to the desolation of resources on our satellite and the high costs of sending manned missions. The next step was to travel to another planet. The great candidate was the one who was closest: Mars.
Mars began to shine in the minds of scientists and aeronautics since the Cold War itself. Since the fifties, different manned travel projects were designed, of which none saw the light. In 1997, a probe was placed on the red planet , the Mars Pathfinder, for the first time . Years later, the Mars Exploration Rover or the Curiosity have been providing data that suggest that there was water on the planet’s surface, perhaps life, as some coal patterns and other matters with cellular structures point out. In the aerospace world there are two currents present: one advocates creating a permanent establishment on the Moon, the other proposes to go directly to Mars. Whatever the chosen route, it is likely that our generation or the next will witness this feat, humans stepping on Mars or humans living on the moon.
The jump from the Baumgartner stratosphere, the landing of the Chinese Space Agency, the establishment of the orbiting satellite Juno around Jupiter last July are the last milestones of a race that ends in outer space. Who knows where science fiction ends and our future begins?