Well that's where we are going... but where have we been?
Here are, by far, the three greatest spaceships we have ever built.
1. The first is Sputnik. Launched by Russia in 1957, this pioneer was our first step into outer space.
From now until the end of time, this little wanderer will be hailed as the beginning of the future.
2. The next immortal ship is Apollo XI.
It was this ship that first took us to another world. In July 1969, Apollo 11 brought Neil Armstrong,
Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the Moon, and returned them safely to the Earth.
3. Finally, there was Voyager. Launched in 1977 and still out there. Flying to all of the outer planets except Pluto, they gave us the only first hand pictures and tons of data that scientists and astronomers now use to become familiar with our solar neighborhood. And, they are still flying. The two Voyager spaceships are between Pluto and Interstellar space right now, approaching the point where the Sun no longer has any gravational influence, 'called the heliopause.' They will either go on forever to the stars, or one day, we will catch up with them and put them in a museum on one of our planets, as the greatest travellers of all time.
Check out a neat page with all of the space missions we've ever done!----->
There is another ship that deserves special recognition. In 1981 the United States launched the first of a series of space shuttles. Space shuttles have dominated the space age for the last twenty or so years, after we lost interest in a Moonbase. Yet, the Space Shuttle Columbia, which was destroyed in 2003 as it re-entered the atmosphere after a mission in Earth orbit, embodies the exploratory and scientific values that we must foster in order to achieve a human future in space.
Along with spaceships, we have built three space stations.
Two are now retired and one is just beginning its career.
1. The first space station was 'Skylab' (1973-1979), built by the United States of America
2. The Second space station was 'Mir' (1986-2001), built by Russia
3. The third (and only current) station is 'International' (2000-Today), built jointly by the USA, Russia and the European Space Agency.
Here is a fantastic picture from the ISS (Intl. Space Station) of a docking with space shuttle Discovery in 2005
If the past tells us anything, it is that we have a choice, squander our potential with wars, overpopulation and selfishness,
or seek out brave new worlds. Let this be our passing moment: way back in 1969 we walked here, on another world, and saw our own...
...our blue world, little yet grand, and so far, our only home.
Why settling the solar system in this manner is important
Tsiolkovsky's Imperative: The Role of Space Development in the Future of Western Civilization
Presented by the City of Hudson Beach, Florida
Go back home, to Earth: Hudson