Written by Siddharth Rajpal, a grade 7 student.
Here are some really great facts about space – did you know that a dog and a monkey went into space before humans?
First, let’s go back a little – to the person who discovered that there was a universe beyond the milky way.
Edwin Hubble discovered the cosmos (the universe) in 1923. At Hubble’s time, most astronomers thought that the Milky Way galaxy was the universe. Using the Hooker telescope (a large telescope located in Los Angeles, America), he spotted what he thought to be a nova star flaring up dramatically in the Andromeda ‘nebula’. After some research, he discovered that it was a kind of star known as a Cepheid, which could be used to measure distance. It showed Hubble that it was very far away – at least a million light years* away from Earth and so being outside the Milky Way. Thus, it was a galaxy on its own containing a billion stars this breakthrough led to the beginning of the process of uncovering the secrets of the cosmos.
In 1608 a Dutch eyeglass maker named Hans Lippershey became the first man to patent a telescope, however Galileo Galilei was the first man to point a telescope towards the sky.
History changed on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite launched into orbit, this was certainly a great accomplishment for mankind.
First dog to go to space
Did you know that animals went into space before a human!? A Russian street dog, named Laika was the first dog in space. She was sent up on On Nov. 3, 1957, in, what was called The Sputnik – which was the first artificial Earth satellite launched by the Russians. It was a sad end for this lovely animal – she died She died soon after launch. Read more of her story here..
Here’s a superb info graphic of all the living organisms sent into space!
The first man to go to space
On April 12, 1961, aboard the spacecraft Vostok 1, Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin a Soviet cosmonaut (a Russian astronaut) became the first man to go to space.
First men to step on the moon
On July 20, 1969, Commander Neil Armstrong along with Buzz Aldrin became the first two men to step on the moon Commander Neil Armstrong’s quote “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” is still widely used.
The first woman of Indian origin in space
In 1997 Kalpana Chawla became the first woman of Indian origin to go to space. She first flew on Space Shuttle Columbia.
India’s first artificial satellite
On 19 April 1975, the Soviet Union (which was a collection of states that does not exist anymore – Russia was a big part of this) launched India’s first artificial satellite, it was called ‘Aryabhata’ named after the famous mathematician Aryabhata.
In 1980, Rohini became the first satellite to be placed in orbit by an Indian-made launch vehicle, SLV-3.
Light years – a unit of astronomical distance that equals the distance that light travels in one year.
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