Sixty years ago, on the 1st of October, NASA – or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration – began its operations, representing the beginning of a new era of the United States exploring the outer space. NASA walked on the footprints of its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, which was created in 1915 as a way to make sure that America doesn’t fall behind Europe when it came to the field of airplane technology.
NASA appeared as a result of something similar happening. In 1957 there were concerns that the Soviet Union would gain the upper hand in terms of technological advancements in the start of the space race after it successfully launched Sputnik in 1957, becoming the first artificial satellite in Earth’s history. This spurred the establishment of NASA back in 1958.
After its inception, the agency had some really productive decades while overseeing a great number of missions which managed to expand our knowledge about the Sun, the Earth, and the Solar System as a whole and why not say, the universe. Despite these space missions, NASA also performed numerous studies and this research helped to enrich the science present in numerous fields and let to benefits from which humanity benefits today.
Here are some important highlights:
- in 2015 New Horizons became the first spacecraft to explore Pluto
- 20th of July, 1969 – Neil Armstrong took man’s first steps on the Moon
- 1975 – the Viking program launched two spacecrafts, becoming the first mission to land and operate a spacecraft on Mars
- in 1990 NASA launched the Hubble Space Telescope which still provides clear glimpses of space
- Chandra X-Ray Observatory was launched in 1999, providing detailed images of spectacular space phenomena
- Last but not least, the launch of Pioneer 10 in 1972. It became the first to reach an outer planet in the solar system
As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.