The scientific study of all celestial objects, such as planets, stars, and galaxies, as well as everything that occurs outside of the Earth’s atmosphere is called Astronomy. One major question presented by astronomy is ‘How was the universe formed and how has it changed since its formation?’ This question and others are examined through a number of scientific fields and processes, such as evolution, physics, and chemistry.
Astronomy is widely regarded as one of the oldest scientific fields of study. Civilizations from ancient times observed the night sky and documented what they saw. Artifacts that have been uncovered by archaeologists suggest early astronomy recordings of stars and other observations seen in the sky. Early people used the stars to measure time in the long-term by formulating calendars. Not only were the stars used to make observations and to measure time, but some early civilizations used stars as a navigational tool, especially when sailing through the ocean.
Today, astronomy is a vital tool for the further development of space astronomy exploration. Exploration of outer space is done by various methods, such as manned spacecraft flights and remotely-controlled robotics. Both space astronomy and space exploration are professions which complement each other, while providing useful information to the development of astronomy space and relying on each other’s advancements. Without space exploration, images from the Hubble Space Telescope would not be possible. At the same time, without images from the Hubble Space Telescope, dreams and planning of deep space exploration would not be feasible.
Technology has always paved the way for advancements in space exploration and astronomy. Space exploration would not be possible if it wasn’t for the invention of liquid-fueled rocket engines and of course, the telescope used for astronomy. Space exploration is continued due to many reasons, such as advancing scientific knowledge, as a means of united nations together, for military and strategic advantages, and for the preservation of humanity’s future.
Space astronomy and exploration has been historically used as a proxy for the rivalries that were fueled during the Cold War. The term, “Space Race” was often used to describe the Soviet Union and United States’ entry into space exploration. The Soviet Union was the first nation to put a man in space to orbit the Earth, which was called Sputnik 1. The United States, however, was the first nation to put a man on the moon, using the spacecraft Apollo 11.
While most space exploration were performed by governmental-funded agencies, such as NASA, the future of space exploration may turn out to be quite different. There are already plans of private ventures of spaceflight companies. There are even incentives given for privately-funded entities to place a robot on the moon successfully, such as in the case of the Google Lunar X-Prize. This is a contest that will award a sum of $20 million to the first team to perform this task.