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From our small world, called Earth - the blue planet, we have gazed upon the cosmic ocean for untold thousands of years. Ancient astronomers observed points of light that appeared to move among the stars. They called these objects planets, meaning wanderers, and named them after Roman deities - Jupiter, king of the gods; Mars, the god of war; Mercury, messenger of the gods; Venus, the god of love and beauty, and Saturn, father of Jupiter and god of agriculture. The stargazers also observed comets with sparkling tails, and meteors or shooting stars apparently falling from the sky.
Science flourished during the European Renaissance. Fundamental physical laws governing planetary motion were discovered, and the orbits of the planets around the Sun were calculated. In the 17th century, astronomers pointed a new device called the telescope at the heavens and made startling discoveries.
But the years since 1959 have amounted to a golden age of solar system exploration. Advancements in rocketry after World War II enabled our machines to break the grip of Earth´s gravity and travel to the Moon and to other planets.
The United States has sent automated spacecraft, then human-crewed expeditions, to explore the Moon. Our automated machines have orbited and landed on Venus and Mars, explored the Sun´s environment, observed comets, and asteroids, and made close-range surveys while flying past Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
These travelers brought a quantum leap in our knowledge and understanding of the solar system. Through the electronic sight and other “senses” of our automated spacecraft, color and complexion have been given to worlds that for centuries appeared to Earth-bound eyes as fuzzy disks or indistinct points of light. And dozen of previously unknown objects have been discovered.
Future historians will likely view these pioneering flights through the solar system as some of the most remarkable achievements of the 20th century.
But from the moment we knew that we are only a small point in a gigantic galaxis we had one question. And this question is still unanswered: Are we alone ? Is something out there ?
It was a long way to reach the point on which we are today. The rocket was not developed as a research tool. No - it was a weapon. The earliest solid rocket fuel was a form of gunpowder, and the earliest recorded mention of gunpowder comes from China late in the third century before Christ.
There were a lot of trials to start a rocket, but most of them failed or crashed a view kilometers from the launch site.
On 3rd October 1942 a rocket roared aloft from Peenemuende, followed ist programmed trajectory perfectly, and landed on target 193 kilometers away. This launch can fairly be said to mark the beginning of the space age. The A4, this was the name of the rocket, the first succesful ballistic rocket, ist the ancestor of practically every rocket flown in the world today. Production of the A4 began in 1943 and the first A4s, now renamed V2s, were launched against London in September 1944. The V-2 offensive came too late to affect the course of the war. By April 1945, the German Army was in full retreat everywhere and Hitler had committed suicide in his bunker in Berlin. The rocket team had been ordered by Hitler to be exuecuted prevent their capture. But they contacted the American forces before Hitlers´s SS henchmen could reach the rocket team. On May 2, the same day Berlin fell to the Soviet Army, von Braun and his rocket team entered American lines and safety. Fact is: Adolf Hitler takes a big part in the developing of rockets.
Now I will give you a chronological overview of space Exploration.
CHRONOLOGY OF SPACE EXPLORATION
1912 Balloon flight - Discovered cosmic rays (Europe)
1946 NRL V-2 rocket (USA)
1957 SPUTNIK 1 - First artificial satellite (USSR)
1969 APOLLO 11 - First manned lunar landing (USA)
1970 LUNA 17 - USSR Lunar Lander and Rover
1973 SKYLAB - America´s first Space Station
1990 Hubble Space Telescope (USA and Europe)
1996 MARS 96
1998 Planet B - Japan Mars Orbiter
1999 STARDUST - USA Comet Sample Return
2001 Pluto-Express (USA Pluto Flyby)
This was only a short overview of space explorations. It may take over an hour to discuss all explorations. There were more than 150 trials to explore our space. But almost 20% of them failed. A long time the USSR and the U.S.A. didn´t work together. Each of them wanted to be better and faster than the other. For example: the first man on the moon. The Americans won this “competition”. Today, they work together, and it´s the better way. There are no two parallel projects. This saves a lot of time and money.
In the last weeks we have heard a lot of news of the Russion space-station MIR. The mir module was launched on 19 February 1986. During the ten years MIR has been orbiting earth, it has been home to 62 people from 24 crews, from more than a dozen countries including Afghanistan, Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Japan, Syria, United Kingdom and the United States. One of these, Russian cosmonaut Dr. Valeri Polyakov, has spent a total of 22 months in space and holds the record for th longest consecutive days in space. By now the technical instruments have been updated. In the last weeks there were a lot of errors and malfunctions on board.
But why do we spent thousands of millions for such projects? Only to get stones from the moon or mars of which we are not able to make practical use? Space exploration seems to be unuseful. But there are a lot of products developed in the space. For example our mobile telephones. First they were use for space exploration, then for war and now every 7th person has an own handy. But are not only technical by-products of space explorations. Medicaments also are produced in the space.
Another question is how we can justify all the expeditions on space-programmes when, we are still unable to feed all the people on our own planet? I think money is not the point in this problem. It’s our society, we wouldn’t life in a 1st world country, if we didn’t spend a lot of money in our research departements.
There will be a lot of trials in the future and I am sure that we will make greater discoveres than we have ever made. In the future we will be able to use a higher, better and faster technology. Today we have reached a point, where we are able to leave our planet without problems. But in the future we will be able to reach a new dimension of space exploration.
ancient.........aus alter Zeit
to launch a rocket.....eine Rakete zünden
quantum leop......riesiger Sprung
Quelle: NASA/JPL information summary “Our Solar System at a Glance.”
Internet SPACE - History
USSR - History Reports
MIR Space Station
U.S.A. - Government (official reports)
UNO - International Space Center (Vienna)
Chronik - “Das waren die achtziger Jahre” (Bilder)
Guinnes Buch der Rekorde 1993 und 1995 (Bilder)