Space Exploration (Britannica Illustrated Science Library) Book
Encyclopaedia Britannica | 2009 | ISBN: 1593393970 | 101 pages | PDF | 10,7 MB
During the greater part of our history, the Moon was quite unreachable. It did not seem very big and far away but rather small. For the Greeks, the idea of walking on the Moon was certainly unthinkable, and as recently as the end of the 19th century many people doubted that humans would even be able to fly. Nevertheless, on July 20, 1969, the miracle happened. Since then many historic missions to explore the planets have been planned and executed, with the spacecraft and probes Mariner, Viking, Pioneer, Voyager, and Galileo leading the way. Thanks to human intelligence and effort we have succeeded in exploring many corners of our solar system. This book intends to show all this: the history of manned and unmanned voyages and the discoveries that were made. We will try, using simple and accessible language, to answer many questions, such as what rockets are, how they work, what shuttles exist, how astronauts live in space, and which robot probes are visiting other planets looking for signs of life. All this is accompanied by photographs and topquality illustrations, providing a better picture of the successes by which we have made giant steps in our understanding of the composition of the other planets, their origin, and their evolution. Every day astronomers are more convinced that there are other places in the universe that are like Earth. We only have to find them. They also assure us that this is one of the most interesting moments in the exploration of the solar system, because so many things are being revealed. Orbiting spacecraft such as Mars Odyssey and Mars Express have confirmed the existence of ice under the surface of Mars. Sending exploratory spacecraft to Saturn was another prodigious feat, a demonstration of human capacity to dream of new worlds. Recently the New Horizons, whose final destination will be Pluto in 2015, lifted off. This shows that the search has only begun. There is still far to go. Perhaps life may be found farther away than we had imagined. Or maybe, as some dreamers imagine, in the next decade we will realize the project of colonizing other planets. For now, the best candidate for us to land on is Mars. But that is still only a dream, the same kind of dream that was made into reality when humans left their footprints on the Moon.....
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