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Futurist: A Tribute to Space and Space Exploration

NASA, ESA, and the Russian and Chinese space agencies have made the world a much better place!

NASA, ESA, and the Russian and Chinese space agencies have made the world a much better place!

A huge reason why i look to the future of technology, is my past of watching NASA and space exploration!

The genesis of my love of looking beyond today's technology comes from my early exposure to the successes of NASA. I thoroughly enjoyed and read Carl Sagan's book Contact and the movie made from the book. Not that Carl Sagan was my only influence; as I said, the very reality of the many NASA expeditions shaped my love of technology. I can remember, as a younger person asking my mother to get Tang. Although a commercial product, Tang re-created what the astronauts drank. I remember sampling astronaut ice cream, freeze-dried ice cream, and many other interesting things that astronauts supposedly ate. Although, I suspect, for the most part, commercial products available off-the-shelf at the grocery store weren't close to what the astronauts had. It wasn't real astronaut food, but it was close enough. Today I want to talk about tomorrow and what tomorrow means in the world of spaceflight for humans.

I watched the first humans walking on the moon with great attention, not just watching the miracle of humans walking on the satellite of our planet but studying the scientific missions and what they hoped to accomplish. Scientists are still investigating the rocks that the various Apollo missions brought back to Earth. Based on the nature of the spacecraft, it isn't a huge amount of lunar rock, but it is from the moon. So it allows scientists to study how the moon responds to the many aspects of our solar system. From meteors crashing into the lunar surface to volcanic activity and many other interesting realities, the moon revealed many secrets when humans were on its surface. Honestly, that is one of the reasons why as a fan of the Apollo missions, I was watching intently when the Artemis craft took off and orbited the moon—knowing that in the next 3 to 5 years, the potential exists that human beings will again return to the surface of the moon. That's the first big technological innovation in preparing for an eventual flight to Mars that we've seen in many years. Artemis, based on the SLS system or the space launch system, can carry a significant amount of mass. More than the Saturn Five did many years ago when launching the Apollo craft to the moon.

In the 1960s, NASA did most of its work on its own. NASA, along with ESA or the European space agency, the Japanese space agency, and many others, are now working together to send the next human crew to the moon. But there's so much more than simply going to the moon. Many years ago, NASA launched the Hubble space telescope. The Hubble space telescope truly increased our knowledge of the solar system with amazing images, information, and other things gathered from its location deep in space. There are many earth-based telescopes, but Hubble is more powerful. The reason for that is that Earth-based telescopes still have to deal with the atmospheric content of Earth. Hubble does not. Beyond humility, NASA also recently implemented another telescope called the James Webb space telescope or JWST. t This even more powerful telescope than the Hubble now allows us to see even further into the history of the universe around us. The James Webb telescope has generated some of the oldest images ever created and shared by a telescope in recent months.

Here is to the next 50 years of space exploration.

There is so much more as well. NASA, ESA, and the Russian and Chinese Space Agencies have all launched missions designed to explore and expand our knowledge. From circling Venus to views of Saturn and Jupiter, many different missions have left the "pale blue dot" that is Earth. If you still need to look it up, it's very interesting that you've seen the video and information gathered by the various Mars lenders that have wandered the red planet throughout the last 10 to 12 years. There is an end of the 2020s somewhere around 2027 and 2028 time. The mission plan is to go pick up the samples left by the Curiosity rover. Curiosity wonders about leaving Caches of samples to be later retrieved and returned to Earth. So some of those Martian rocks could be in the hands of scientists as early as 2032.

All of this started with the launch of a single simple spacecraft by the Russian space agency Soyuz. Soyuz, heading off into space, initially started the space race. The result of the "space race" was a massive technological evolution. Now the evolution of the mission of space exploration has become that of scientific discovery. Many of the original scientists involved with NASA and other organizations had that as their dream all along. Not winning some perceived space race but rather a scientific exploration of the universe in which we live. Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were launched in the 1970s by NASA. They are the first human vehicles to leave the gravitational field of our Sun and move into interstellar space. In addition to their instruments, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 also had gold discs. Each Voyager Gold disk represented the best of humanity, our art, mathematics, science, and so much more of our culture. To be found by an alien civilization.

All of that is because of a single satellite that orbited the Earth. So much in today's technological world comes from those early space missions. From computers that got smaller and smaller to the graphics chip you are using to read this, NASA helped move technology. All that coming from the science and technology required to send humans to the moon had to send explorers robotic to Mars. As this next decade of exploration unfolds, I cannot wait to see what comes next!

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

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