"So how do humans get into outer space?"
"Cosmos, humans have traveled into outer space for about 45 years, but we've only been as far as our own Moon. Space is so vast that we need to send unmanned probes to study and photograph distant places."
The ISS is our new International Space Station. In this section, you will learn who is building the ISS and around what year it will be done. You will also learn how it will help our lives on Earth and help develop new technology that will make living in space easier. One of the ISSís major pieces is the Destiny Laboratory Module. It is a new design and it cost $1.38 billion to make! It was attached to the ISS on February 8, 2001. Astronauts will use it to test the effects of long term weightlessness and gravity free production of pieces used in things like computers and video games!
Mir is the Russian word for peace; it is also the name of the Russian space station. In this section you will learn how Mir helped us develop much of the technology that we are using to build the International Space Station (ISS). You will also learn Mirís launch date and why it is considered the pioneer in space technology. Will Mir ever come back to Earth? Of course! But it wonít land like a rocket or airplane! If you like, you can make mental memos of Mirís modules in this section too! You will learn how the astronauts and cosmonauts live on Mir, too!
The X-38 will be the return vehicle for the International Space Station. It looks like a cross between a bathtub and an arrowhead. It only cost $90 million. This is the first new spacecraft in 20 years.
"Thatís one small step for man, one giant leap for man kind." Those were the words the Neil Armstrong said when he first stepped on the Moon. This was a great accomplishment because the Soviet Union and United States were in a race to get to the Moon first. Apollo 11 helped the U.S. win the race.
The Space Shuttle is a spacecraft designed for transporting people and cargo to and from orbit around Earth. Now four space shuttles are in useóColumbia, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour (which replaced Challenger). These shuttles can be used several times. They are being used to build the International Space Station. Soon the X-33 will replace the shuttles.
Satellites are objects in orbit around Earth, other planets, or the Sun. There are two different types of satellites natural and artificial. Natural satellites are things like the Moon, Earth, comets, etc. Artificial satellites are man-made. There are six different types of artificial satellites: communication, resource, navigation, military, scientific, and weather.
On September 9, 1975 Viking 1 was launched and went into orbit around Mars on June 19, 1976. On August 7, 1976 Viking 2 was launched. Together they took over 26,000 pictures of Mars and its moons, Phobos and Deimos. Did you know that the Viking Probes might have discovered life on Mars?
On May 4, 1989 Magellan was launched from the space shuttle Atlantis and entered Venusí orbit on August 10, 1990. Magellanís mission was to create a detailed map of at least 70% of Venusí surface. When Magellan reached the high point of its orbit, the spacecraft turned its antenna toward Earth and sent the data. After Magellanís mission, it burned up as it left Venusí atmosphere. Magellanís mission was a great success! It mapped 98% of Venusí surface.
On January 3, 1999, Mars Polar Lander was launched. The most important goal of the Mars Polar Lander was to study water on the planet to see if enough water is available for life to exist and how it affects the weather and climate on the planet. The Mars Polar Lander would enter the atmosphere of Mars at a speed of 15,700 mph, and friction would begin to slow the capsule down. The Mars Polar Lander hit the ground at about 2.2 mph. As it fell to the ground, it was going to take 10 pictures of the landing site so space engineers could send probes more safely in the future.
This small space probe is being made to fly to Pluto and its moon, Charon. The objective of the Pluto Express will be to make the first close-up observations of the Pluto-Charon system. The mission will complete the exploration of the last unexplored planet. It will also answer basic questions about the beginning of the solar system. Pluto is the only planet not yet seen up close by any spacecraft. Pluto Express is a spacecraft filled with wonder and excitement!
Unless otherwise noted, all images courtesy of NASA. Permission for use at http://www.nasa.gov/gallery/photo/guideline.html.
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