Since the inception of NASA in 1958, their goals and objectives have always been monumental. They planned to expand overall human knowledge of space, maintain the lead in space technological innovation, design vehicles that could carry both living organisms and state of the art equipment into space and collaborate with international space agencies in order to produce the greatest scientific advancements.
In the last 50 years, NASA has in fact achieved all of these goals. NASA continues to search for answers to the mysteries of science as it continues to evolve among the ever changing world we live in. All of the hard work NASA does benefits all of mankind, their enormous budget is spent here on Earth, supporting the economy and creating spin-off technologies that greatly improve our quality of life.
Here is our list of NASA's 10 greatest achievements.
10 Explorer 1
Kepler is a space observatory that NASA launched on March 7, 2009 in the hopes of discovering Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. Kepler's main instrument is a photometer which frequently watches for the brightness of over 145,000 main sequence stars within a fixed field of view. The data Kepler finds is then transmitted to Earth and analyzed to detect the periodic dimness caused by extrasolar planets, the ones that move in front of their host star.
7 Hubble Space Telescope
6 Mars Rovers
5 Chandra X-Ray Observatory
4 Freedom 7 - The first American in Space
3 International Space Station
The construction of the ISS began in 1998 and has been occupied by researchers since 2000. The first crew arrived in 2000 and ever since astronauts have lived on the space station. NASA and partners from all over the world completed the construction of the space station in 2011. Astronauts in the ISS research how to live in space, and how future missions to the moon and Mars can be achieved effectively and efficiently. The research conducted on the ISS is not just beneficial for astronauts, but for us on Earth too.
2 Apollo 13
On April 11, 1970, the spacecraft launched and 55 hours and 55 minutes later an explosion occurred that shut down nearly every system necessary to sustain life on board of the craft.
It all started with an explosion with one of the engines shutting down within two minutes of lift-off. The event that took place due to the explosion is one of the most amazing collective rescues in history. A string of potentially tragic events occurred and it was a miracle that the crew- astronauts James Lovell, Fred Hayes and John Swirget survived.
One of the two oxygen tanks blew up and the force of the explosion caused the second oxygen tank to break down. Soon after, two of the spacecraft's three fuel cells shut down. This now meant that Apollo 13 was unleashing oxygen into space and all of their life support-power, water, light, heat and oxygen were offline.
The bravery and cleverness of the men on board and all of the people involved in the rescue mission is a true testament to the intelligence mankind is capable of demonstrating. In order to conserve what was left of their life support, the astronauts survived on nearly no food, water and sleep while the temperature on the craft nearly dropped to freezing. In less than six days, the crew members lost a combination of 31.5 pounds because of dehydration.
1 Apollo 11
Apollo 1 was the first manned mission of the lunar landing mission but it never made its target date. The mission was a complete disaster and killed all three astronauts on board due to a cabin fire during a launch rehearsal. In the next two years, NASA ran a total of nine more missions, and tested a variety of different aspects of the operation. Apollo 11 was the first mission that finally landed men on the moon (yes, that's right, for all of you Apollo conspiracy theorist out there, we did in fact land on the moon).
When astronaut Neil Armstrong set his foot on the moon's surface and uttered the legendary words; " One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," the world was watching in awe and some in disbelief because it was in fact such an incredible feat. Shortly after, Buzz Aldrin followed and the two became the first humans to stake claim onto Earth's only natural satellite- the moon. While all this was happening, the third crew member, astronaut Michael Collins, stayed in orbit in the Columbia command module. Since Apollo 11 only ten more people have stepped onto the moon's surface.
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