Overview of Astronomy
Why Space Exploration?
Exploring space has been a dream of humankind for many centuries. Since the first artificial satellite was launched in the 1950’s, space exploration has expanded considerably. Space agencies have since then sent astronauts to the Moon, landed rovers on Mars and sent space probes to all planets in the Solar System and even into interstellar space. We have even landed a probe on a comet and launched advanced satellites and telescopes into space to look down on our own planet Earth and peer more deeply into the Universe than ever before, unlocking many of its mysteries. We are now preparing to send humans to Mars and to return to the Moon.
Several ambitious crewed and crewless missions are also being planned and developed by private companies. Despite all these extraordinary achievements, space exploration is still relatively young but it is advancing at a fast pace. What an exciting future lies ahead.
Who are the people behind all this?
When we think about space exploration, an image that immediately pops up in our mind is that of an astronaut. This is, however, only one of the many careers related to space exploration. An astronaut travels in a spacecraft, wears a spacesuit, communicates with Earth, carries out scientific experiments, all of which are the result of the combined work of many other highly skilled professionals. There are experts who plan the mission, build the spacecraft, design the spacesuit, analyse scientific data, develop new materials, test the spacecraft, create new tools, perform medical tests, amongst many other functions. The majority of the people who work in space-related fields have a scientific or engineering background and have studies maths and natural sciences at school.