Space Exploration, from Ancient to Modern Times

  • 100

    Life of Aristotle

    Life of Aristotle
    Aristotle lived and died before this timeline begins, but his ideas were important and widely believed. Aristotle was born around the year 384 BC in northern Greece. In his life he study and wrote about many things including philosophy, biology, meteorology and astronomy. Aristotle studied in an academy in Athens Greece and was taught by the famous Greek philosopher Plato. Aristotle believed in the geocentric theory. He thought that the whole universe moved around the Earth.
  • 110

    Life of Aristarchus

    Life of Aristarchus
    Aristarchus was a Grekk astronomer who was born around the year 310 BC. It is suspected that he thought of the heliocentric theory, the idea that the Earth revolves around the sun and is not the center of the universe, long before the time of astronomers who made the idea widely known. Aristarchus figured out how to calculate the size of the sun. When he knew the size of the sun he realized that it was much bigger than the Earth and that the Earth must go around the sun.
  • 150

    Ptolemy Completes the Almagest

    Ptolemy Completes the Almagest
    Ptolemy was a very early atstronemer who made observations of the sky from Alexandria Egypt. He wrote a text about the movements of the planets, sun, moon and other space objects, called the Almagest. Ptolemy believed that his observations proved that the Earth was the center of the universe. THis is called the geocentric theory and even though it was incorrect, people believed it for hundreds of years after Ptolemy's time.
  • Dec 27, 1571

    Kepler is Born

    Kepler is Born
    Kepler was born on this day in Germany. Kepler became a well known astronomer. Kepler proved that planets don't orbit in perfectly circular paterns and published a group of laws about the universe that became known as Kepler's laws. THe laws state that planets orbit in oval shaped paths, that planets orbit faster if they are closer to the sun and the third law relates the distance of a planet from the sun to its orbit time. Kepler purposed these laws in the early 1600s.
  • Jan 1, 1573

    Birth of Copernicus

    Birth of Copernicus
    Copernicus was born in 1573. Copernicus was one of the first astronomers to write about and really prove the fact that the geocentric theory was wrong and made very little sense. Copernicus made a model called the heliocentric model in which the sun was the center of the universe, the Earth revolved around the sun if they were farther away from it. People still wanted to believe that Earth was at the center of the universe, but we now know that Copernicus was correct.
  • Birth of Galileo

    Birth of Galileo
    Galileo was born in 1564 in Italy. Galileo conducted experiments to learn about the laws of motion. Galileo was not the first person to make a telescope, but he did invent one that was many times stronger than any other that had been invented at the time. Galileo discovered the moons of Jupiter and reproved the helieocentric theory. Galileo's writings went agianst the common religion. As punishment Galileo was confined to his home until his death in 1642.
  • Hans Lippershey Invents Telescope

    Hans Lippershey Invents Telescope
    It was during this year the Hans Lippershey, a Dutch eyeglass maker, became the first person to apply for a patent on the first telescope. This device allowed people to see far away objects at three times magnification. It is unclear if Hans Lippershey actually invented the first telescope because just weeks after he applied for the patent another man apllied for a patent on a similar device, but Hans Lippershey is usually given the credit for creating the first telescope.
  • Isaac Newton is Born

    Isaac Newton was born in England on this date. He would alter become an accomplished physisists and mathematician. Isaac Newton invented the first reflecting telescope. A reflectin telescope doesn't just allow someone to see an enlarged image through lense, but uses mirrors to focus and direct light from the sky. Newton also did research into gravity and planetary motion. Newton is considered to be one of the greatest scientists of the 17th century.
  • Sputnik 1 is Launched

    Sputnik 1 is Launched
    Sputnik was the first artificial satellite to be launched into space. It was launched on October, 4 1957 by the Soviet Union. There had been plans to launch an artificial satellite for many years before that, but Sputnik was the first to actually orbit the Earth. Sputnik was only about the size of a beach ball and it took about 98 minutes for it to orbit the Earth. The satellite weighed about 184 pounds.
  • First Probe on Another Planet

    First Probe on Another Planet
    Venera 7 was the first probe to land on another planet. It landed on Venus on this day and transmitted data from the planet's surface for roughly 35 minutes. The three probes before it had been attempts to land on Venus, but they failed when the probes were crushed by atmosphereic pressure long before they reached the planet's surface. Venera 7 was prepared for 180 atmospheres worth of pressure and temperatures of over 500 degrees C.
  • First Man to Orbit Earth

    First Man to Orbit Earth
    On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the Earth. His spacecraft, Vostok 1, was launched by the Soviet Union. It took about 108 minutes for Vostok 1 to complete the orbital mission, circling the planet once. The cabin was almost the shape of sphere with only three small windows. The spacecraft only orbited Earth onc, but it made Yuri Gagarin the first man in space just twenty five days before the first American was launched into space.
  • Telstar Satilite is Launched

    Telstar Satilite is Launched
    The Telstar satilite was attached to a Delta Rocket to be put into orbit. This was the first satilite to transmit TV signals. It was able to magnefy signals up to 10,000 times and soon after its launch it transmitted TV signals across the Atlantic ocean for the first time. More Telstar satellites were launched after the first successful one.
  • Alexi Leonov Participates in the First Space Walk

    Alexi Leonov Participates in the First Space Walk
    On this day, Alexi Leonov became the first man to walk in space. Space walks involve the person wearing a protective suit and stepping outside the spacecraft while still tethered to it by a very strong rope. At the end of the space walk, Leonov tried to return to the space capsule, but he couldn't because the pressurized space suit he was wearing had expanded due to the vacume of space. Leonov had to let some air out of his space suit in order to move his fingers. The walk lasted twenty minutes.
  • The First Close Range Images of Mars Reach Earth

    The First Close Range Images of Mars Reach Earth
    The Mariner 4 probe finally came into close range with mars and took pictures of the planet's surface. The probe had been on its journey for close to a year. The pictures that Mariner 4 transmitted covered about one percent of the planets surface. The probe also completed other jobs such as testing the magnetic field of Mars and testing solar wind, cosmic radiation and cosmic dust. The mission gave scientists experience about how to build and operate an interplanetary probe.
  • Luna 9 Lands on the Moon

    Luna 9 Lands on the Moon
    On this day the Russian spacecraft luna 9 became the first spacecraft to complete a mission to the moon. THis mission also sent back photos from the surface of the moon for the first tiem. Luna 9 had been traveling for about four days before its landing. THis mission proved that something could land on the moon without sinking into a layer of loose dust which was believed to cover the moon's surface.
  • Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin Walk on the Moon

    Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin Walk on the Moon
    On this day Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the surface of the moon. These astonauts were two out of the three members of the Apollo 11 crew. Michael Collins was the third, but he didn't walk on the moon. Millions of people watched the first moon walk. During their time on the moon, the astronauts collected samples of rock and soil and placed an American flag on the moon's surface.
  • Salyut 1 is Launched

    Salyut 1 is Launched
    The Salyut 1 space station was launched by the Soviet Union. It was the first space station to go into orbit around Earth. The station weighted 18,599 kg and was only 12 meters long. The purpose of Salyut 1 was to find out how the human body reacted to being in space for a long time and to take pictures of Earth from orbit. The space station orbited Earth 362 times between pril and October. In October it fell to Earth and landed in the Pacific ocean.
  • Pioneer 10 is Launched

    Pioneer 10 is Launched
    Pioneer 10 was a space probe that became the first spacecraft to travel past the orbit of Mars and through the asteroid belt. It flew past Jupiter and was the first spacecraft to reach the outer planets. This probe took pictures of Jupiter as it flew past and measured how much dust and radiation could be found in the space around the gas giant. Pioneer 10 also transmitted data about magnetic fields and the atmosphere of Jupiter.
  • Viking 2 Lands on Mars

    Viking 2 Lands on Mars
    Viking 2 landed on the surface or Mars in November of this year. The spacecraft found all the elements essential to life on Earth. It also took 16,000 images of the surface of Mars. It observed the ground and the atmosphere. Two years after the spacecraft landed it stopped working.
  • First Space Shuttle Launched

    First Space Shuttle Launched
    The first space shuttle launcheed by NASA was Columbia. The space shuttle program ended with a totoal of 130 flights by the time the program ended decades after it began. The astronuats were John Young and Robert Crippen. All space shuttles had rocket boosters with solid fuel and one large fuel tack. The rocket boosters and the shuttle itself could both be recovered and reused. The rocket boosters provide most of the power by igniting and giving the shuttle thrust.
  • Galileo Probe Flies Past Jupiter

    Galileo Probe Flies Past Jupiter
    The Galileo probe was launched from the space shuttle Atlantis in 1989, but did not reach its target location, orbit around Jupiter, until 1995. The probe was the first to get so close to Jupiter and its moons and the first to orbit Jupiter for such an extended period of time. The probe sent back many images of the gas giant and its moons despite mechanical difficulties.
  • Cassini-Huygens Probe is Launched

    Cassini-Huygens Probe is Launched
    During 1997, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft was launched. This interplanetary probe was sent out of explore Saturn. The probe was designed to reach Saturn and orbit around the planet for several years, while taking pictures and measurements of the Saturn system.
  • First Mars Rover Arrives on Mars

    First Mars Rover Arrives on Mars
    THe Pthfinder's Sojourner Rover became the first robotic explorer on that planet on this date. THe rover had six wheels and received remote control commands from Earth. During the months that the rover transmitted date from the surface of Mars, it sent back many pictures and some findings about the chemicals in rocks on Mars. The rover managed to continue working for much longer than its design had suggested it would.