During the Cold War between 1947 and 1991, the United States took part in their first space explorations. The Cold War spurred the United States to compete with the world’s other superpower, the Soviet Union, in an arms and space race to become the first to create an arsenal of atomic weapons, send a man safely to space and land a man on the moon. Literature and film influenced the era by exciting the public about the possibilities of exploring the universe and discovering a new scientific frontier. Moreover, futuristic television shows such as The Jetsons (original series from 1962-1963) and Lost in Space (1965-1968) and the novel, Logan’s Run (1976) exposed American youth to the wonders of scientific innovation, technology and the universe.
April 24, 1990, the hubble space telescope was released into space by the United States, giving us real photographic perspectives of what lies in the universe beyond our solar system. The telescope receives uninterrupted light waves from the universe which are digitized and translated into photographs. The first images from the hubble telescope revealed awe inspiring images of galaxies, planets, nebulae and stars that unsurprisingly inspired many artists to create renderings of our universe.
An image of the Mystic Mountain from the Hubble space telescope
Space art inspired by Hubble
NASA has now begun creating robots that can replace humans working in space -- saving many lives from the unpredictable dangers of space. Despite the popular enthusiasm, space travel has proven to be dangerous for earthlings. Examples of this include the incident of the Russian dog, Laika, dying in 1957 after running out of food while in orbit, as well as the explosions in 1967 and 1986 respectively of manned-spacecrafts Apollo 1 and the Challenger. In contrast, NASA’s robots have the ability to take interplanetary samples to help us learn about our universe without putting human or animal lives in danger.
The ill-fated Challenger launch
The Mars Curiosity Rover
Companies such as Ansari X have begun encouraging people to contribute their ideas for space travel by offering $10 million to anyone who creates a spaceship that can travel to space twice a week and is non-governmentally funded. Incentives like these inspire a new market of commercial space travel. Virgin Galactic, for example, has begun offering travel into space for anyone who can pay $200,000 for a ticket. The limits of space exploration are yet to be discovered and more possibilities seem to appear daily. Therefore, the discussion of space exploration and its benefits for earthlings will go on long after our time. Furthermore, future artist will be inspired by the technology used to explore space in ways that defy current convention.
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