By: Skye Grainger
Space exploration has been a topic of human interest for as long as man has been around. Galileo was an early astronomer, philosopher, and mathematician. He alongside other astronomers made fundamental contributions to what science is today. The first man was sent into space on April 12, 1961. In the past 60 years we have found the answers to many questions, not only about space, but about our planet, Earth. Exploring space has given us a general basis for how things work. Space exploration has come a long way in the past few decades, so the question is: What does the future hold?
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has many plans for upcoming and current projects involving space exploration. The Artemis missions ( I, II, and III) intend to get humans back on the moon to collect new data and discover new opportunities. The Artemis I mission launched on November 16, 2022 the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Artemis I was an uncrewed, test launch in preparation for Artemis II, which will be the first crewed flight test of the Space Launch System expected to launch by 2024. Regarding Artemis III, planning is underway for a regular system of Artemis missions and crews to be on and around the moon. NASA’s Artemis missions aim to land the first woman and person of color on the moon and to explore the moon’s surface. The data collected during these missions will lay the path for the future of Mars missions.
The idea of sending humans to Mars has been highly anticipated by many. People of all ages have dreamt about broadening our horizons for many years, and now it’s finally becoming a reality. The first rover arrived on Mars in 1996. Since then, many others have been sent to collect information about the planet and to answer one burning question: Was there ever life on Mars? Elon Musk, the founder, CEO, and chief engineer of SpaceX, said that he is highly confident that the first crewed launch to Mars will take place by 2026. Mars was chosen as the space exploration target mainly because of its closeness and location in the solar system. Mars is located about 300 million miles away from Earth and would take around 7 months to travel to. Mars is the perfect planet to explore as it is the most similar planet to Earth. Evidence suggests that Mars was once warmer and full of life with a much thicker atmosphere. Figuring out if there is water and other resources currently available on Mars is so important for human exploration due to the planet’s distance.