Humankind has always had their faces turned towards the stars. The art of astrology has been floating around human culture since the Babylonians created the first astrological system in the 2nd millennium BC. The ancient Egyptians used their knowledge of astronomy to plan the construction of the Great Pyramids with impressive accuracy.
The Middle Ages rolled around and you had Galileo followed by Newton using the stars to build the model of the solar system and gravity that we use today.
We finally ventured into the great unknown in the 1950’s with the Soviets launching the first artificial satellite into Earth’s orbit. And then the race was on. First person in space: Russian Lt. Yuri Gagarin in 1961. First person on the moon: American Neil Armstrong in 1969.
1) Nowadays, the International Space Station has been continuously occupied since the year 2000 by people from 18 countries. And so what is next on the road to the stars…
Turns out that the upper atmosphere of Venus is the most Earth-like location in the solar system. And NASA’s new mission is to send people there to explore our closest planetary neighbour. (Even then, it’s 261 million kilometers away!)
2) As if it isn’t hard enough being a woman in Kyrgyzstan, this amazing group set out create the country’s first space program – the Kyrgyz Space Program. And they are currently crowdfunding their way to their first satellite launch.
3) There is a race on. A race to put everyday people in space. Dennis Tito became the world’s first space tourist in 2001, reportedly paying £14m for the experience. Dive into the privatisation of space travel with Virgin Galactic, but be warned, this is a lengthy (but interesting) read.
4) Mumm Champagne have already bet on more and more people being in space and have developed a champagne specifically designed for zero gravity consumption. Check out the team testing it out!
5) Humans didn’t evolve in zero gravity, so what effect does this have on our bodies? Turns out our brains don’t do too well and this is one of the big challenges that needs to be solved if we want to undertake longer space travel. Research is currently being undertaken to learn more about what causes the ‘Charlie Brown effect’ and how space travel can be improved.