“The Lure of Space!” What an astoundingly mystifying statement. Just upon hearing it, one can imagine a vast dark universe, with planets whirring about, gigantic balls of fire set up prettily in flames, multiple unimaginable galaxies… all the beauty of the universe in short, nothing imaginable, never possible to be completely explored.
Yet it calls from afar, from all around, longing to be explored and observed, to be known and reveal its secrets, and even yet so gloriously enormous that the wonders never end! It holds all the attraction of the unknown.
Even once we keep aside the magical wonders to the universe and stick to only our factual discoveries, space exploration remains one of the most interesting and sought after fields of science.
The closer we get to unravelling one thread of mystery, the more inquisitive we become, while curiosity spurts up in flames, right through our souls. Space exploration continues to be the most innovative field, which can predictably never stop drawing and attracting human minds into its magic.
In fact, the field has so many sub-fields under it that almost any branch of science can collaborate to find an amazing unbelievable discovery. It demands expertise in physics, aeronautics, engineers, space explorers, astronauts, etc. Space exploration demands the corroborative efforts from all the fields so as to put in the best efforts for an effective outcome.
India’s Contribution to Space Exploration
The most important space exploration organisation in India is the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). The headquarters of the ISRO is located in Bangalore. The main objective of the ISRO is “to create space technology for national development while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration.” Here is a list of some of its major achievements:
- Aryabhata Satellite
Aryabhata was India’s first satellite mission ever, launched in the year 1975. It was named after the famous Indian Astronomer, who was the first major mathematician-astronomers from the classical age of Indian mathematics and Indian astronomy.
- Chandrayaan I
Chandrayaan I, which was launched in the year 2008, was India’s first lunar probe which was not accompanied by a crew. Upon this launch, ISRO had become part of a very elite group of only six space organizations that had launched lunar probes.
Mangalyaan, launched in 2013, was India’s Mars Orbiter Mission. It collected data on the surface, atmosphere and mineral composition of Mars. It is India’s first interplanetary mission, and made India the fourth country to reach Mars. India became the first Asian nation to reach Mars, and the first country in the World to succeed on its first attempt.
- Future Extra Terrestrial Missions
India is also planning to launch 7 missions within the next decade. In July, 2019, Chandrayaan II is set to be launched. Then in 2021, ISRO is aiming to launch Aditya I, which would be India’s first solar probe. There is also Mangalyaan II, the second Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), to be launched in 2021 or 2022. The first mission to Venus, Shukrayaan I, is also being set to launch in 2023. There will also be a Chandrayaan III, and a mission to Jupiter is under planning.
Other Discoveries under Space Exploration
The most popular, well-known and well-funded space exploration organization in the world is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the United States of America. In fact, there is at least one such space exploration organization in every country of the world.
Some of these organizations include the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Russian Federal Space Agency (RFSA). Here is a list of the top four discoveries made in the field of space exploration:
- The Dwarf Planets
Until almost 2005, our solar system in the Milky Way consisted of the sun and the nine planets. This was when Pluto was considered one the planets too. But then, startling evidence came to view when scientists discovered a new planet, Eris, which was 27 percent bigger than Pluto. Because of this, Pluto and Eris are now considered dwarf planets, and our solar system now consists of the Sun, and eight planets.
- Discovery of Exoplanets
First, we need to know what an exoplanet is. An exoplanet is any planet that does not revolve around our sun, but another star, hence belonging to a different solar system. The first exoplanet was discovered in 1992. In 2015, scientists found the exoplanet Kepler-452b, which is termed “Earth’s cousin” due to their similarities.
- The Evidence of Existence of Black Holes
Although the concept of black holes had been suspected for a very long time, there had been no evidence until 1990, when a Hubble telescope was launched into space. Even this could not bring forth an image of a black hole, but it could see where matter had been pulled in by the black hole.
And just this year, Katherine Bouman, an American computer scientist working in the field of imaging, led the development of an algorithm for imaging black holes, known as Continuous High-resolution Image. We now have the picture and imagery of Black Holes.
- Successfully landing on a comet
The Rosetta mission became the first ever mission to successfully land on a comet in 2014. It was seen as a historic moment as it allowed scientists to study the materials that make up a comet for the very first time. There are tests still ongoing on the comet in the hopes of finding out more about how the universe was formed.
Proof of Life on Other Planets
William Borucki, the principal investigator for NASA’s Kepler mission, once said, “If we find lots of planets like ours…we’ll know it’s likely that we aren’t alone, and that someday we might be able to join other intelligent life in the universe.”
We may not have found another intelligent race as of yet, but we have indeed found multiple planets where life can exist. The first planet most likely to have another intelligent life race on it is Mars.
Mars has been found to be habitable. It has the three critical ingredients for life. It had an abundance of the chemical building blocks, liquid water on its surface and an energy source (volcanic activity) to power the chemical reactions that make life possible (on Earth that energy source is the sun). However, it has been proved that there surface of Mars is inhabitable. Yet, the possibility of life under the frozen land exists.
Then we have Jupiter. Although Jupiter is definitely inhabitable, the moons of Jupiter can possibly have life forms on it, in particular, Europa. There is also Enceladas, one of the moons of Saturn, which can possibly be habitable.
In conclusion, the contributions made to discoveries and exploration of space is no small thing. We have dipped into a few of the mysteries the universe holds, but we still have many, many more to unravel. We have not even explored our galaxy Milky Way to its full extent. Only our solar system with the Sun as our nearest star is the one explored as of now.
Space exploration definitely has infinite scope to study, to perform hypotheses, to conduct experimentation’s, and to draw rational inferences that could potentially help the life forms on earth. It has also helped us in improving our lives in many ways. The more we know regarding the space and the happenings, the better we can forecast and foresee things.
Many natural calamities could be fought efficiently by getting a fair idea for the same prior to the attack. Not only the natural calamities, but we can also have a wide range of other uses with the space exploration.
In this way, space lures us all into its mysterious beautiful mist. Is it possible for anyone to resist?