The idea of Space Search is vitally important, for space search has fascinated humans for as long as there has been understanding about outer space.
For many years humans believed the earth was flat and if they went too far to the edge they would fall off. But even with this dangerous idea, a space search was never far from the minds of those more adventurous types.
Grecian and Aztec explorers used to describe the earth as a flat surface and it was Eratosthenes, a Greek mathematician who calculated the Earth’s diameter by a simple technique of using the shadows cast by the sun. But people were intrigued as to what lay beyond the earth and desperately wanted to find ways to go into space, search for other planets, and possibly even other forms of life.
For thousands of years the questions of space search continued to dominate all who were fascinated by what else was contained in the universe. Astrologers and astronomers tried to answer questions, but, for the most part, space search remained a big, black hole until the 20th century. It was in the 20th century that astronomers and scientists begin to look scientifically at what was out there, and at the possibility of a space search expedition. And, in April 1961, Yuri Gagarin did what so many others had wanted to do before him, and became the first man into space.
Gagarin’s triumph was the culmination of a battle between the USA and Russia – each country wanted to be the first to put a man into space and thus begin an age of space search. The Americans had Alan Shepherd waiting in the wings to blast off into outer space and had little or no idea that the Russians were ready with Gagarin.
Shepherd became the second man into space and to start a space search just a few weeks later, when he was shot up for about 15 minutes.
Since then space search has been a constant battle between the two countries with the astronauts of the USA and cosmonauts of Russia striving to explore more, to find more and to know more about space.
Space searches have hot some major setbacks in recent years, most notably with the Challenger in 1986, which was destroyed just a couple of minutes into its flight, and, more recently, with the Columbia in 2003 which broke up on re-entry to the earth’s atmosphere, killing all on board. Space flights did not resume until 2005, with careful attention being paid to them around the world.
The International Space Station remains in use, with a skeleton staff on board.
Until man has conquered every corner of the known universe, which would appear to be an unlikely feat, it seems humans will always be obsessed with space search. It is the fear of the unknown as well as the possibility of discovering other life which draws us ever closer. Right now, Richard Branson is preparing to take the first space tourism flights into the atmosphere, and it is unclear where the fascination will stop.