Space Exploration

Astronaut on EVA
An astronaut on an EVA (extravehicular activity) on the
International Space Station
Credit: NASA

As well as using instruments like telescopes to explore the Universe, humans have explored space themselves since the 1950s. This requires the development of powerful rockets, and other types of technology such as robot rovers and space stations.

The drive to explore space with more than just telescopes is driven by the human desire for adventure, and the advancement of science. It also requires countries to work together and often leads to the development of technology which can be used in our every day lives.

Despite a huge amount of progress in our technology, the furthest humans have ever been is the Moon during the Apollo missions of the 1960s and 70s. However, since 1971 humans have always had a presence in space through the positioning of space stations around the Earth on which people can live for months at a time.

Today we are still working on space exploration with companies such as SpaceX developing new rockets which can be reused, making space flight cheaper. They hope to one day get people onto the surface of Mars. Alongside this many countries are still sending people into space, and planning on getting people to the Moon once again, or Mars.

As well as sending people, we have managed to get robots and space probes all over the Solar System, including the surface of the Moon, Mars, and Venus, and flying past the outer planets and their moons, and one space probe, Voyager, has got even further!