During my time on FP, I've noticed that there's a pretty large group of members who are interested in, if not enthusiasts of, space exploration, travel, and science. Space is one of my passions, and I think it's about damn time that FP had a thread dedicated to talk of, and information about space.
Q: Why the shitfucking nippleballs should I care about space?
A: Well, what an eloquently formed and entirely understandable question!
There are a number of reasons that you should care about space. It has the possibility to provide untold amounts of resources for the human race, is a great place to perform research and to develop new products, or to manufacture things that can't be easily built on Earth. It also provides a frontier for mankind to explore, even just here in our own solar system. Fields that feed into space science are also a large producer of jobs, with corporations like SpaceX, Bigelow Aerospace, Virgin Galactic, and of course the governmental space agencies providing dozens of manufacturing and engineering jobs. Not to mention research positions in fields like astronomy and astrophysics.
Q: When has anything useful come out of space?
A: Well, a lot of things, actually! Digital cameras, flat screens, advances in medicine and manufacturing, GPS, and much more!
Q: What's going on in space exploration and research today?
A: Well, NASA recently cancelled the Space Shuttle program, and that was a major hit to the industry. But recently the private sector, mainly in the form of SpaceX, has made huge advances in putting their products into space, and SpaceX is soon to be the first private company to ever dock with the ISS!
A few key points that would be good to be aware of for discussion are:
October 4, 1957 - Sputnik 1 is launched, becoming the world's first artificial satellite.
November 3, 1957 - Sputnik 2 is launched, carrying the first living being, Laika the dog, into space.
January 31, 1958 - Explorer 1 is launched, becoming the first American satellite.
April 12, 1961 - Vostok 1 carries the first human into space, Yuri Gagarin.
May 5, 1961 - Mercury 3 carries Alan Shepard into space, becoming the first American to orbit the Earth.
December 21, 1968 - Apollo 8 launches, it will carry the first humans to leave Earth orbit and travel to the moon and back.
July 16, 1969 - Apollo 11 is launched, landing the first humans on the Moon.
April 12, 1981 - The Space Shuttle is launched for the first time.
January 28, 1986 - Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrates during launch due to an O-ring failure on the right SRB.
April 24, 1990 - The Hubble Space Telescope is launched into orbit aboard the orbiter Discovery.
February 1, 2003 - Space Shuttle Columbia breaks apart during reentry into the atmosphere, with all hands lost.
September 28, 2008 - SpaceX's Falcon 1 spacecraft makes it's first successful flight.
June 4, 2010 - SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft aboard their Falcon 9 rocket becomes the first commercial spacecraft to make a complete orbit and reenter successfully.
July 8, 2011 - The Space Shuttle Atlantis lifts off on STS-135, the final Shuttle mission to be flown.
May 25, 2012 - SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft becomes the first commercial spacecraft to rendezvous and dock with the ISS.
August 5/6, 2012 - NASA's Mars Science Laboratory and the Curiosity rover land on Mars.
A good timeline for the space race:
And of course, it wouldn't be a space thread without pretty images:
Hubble Ultra Deep Field:
Boomerang Nebula (Coldest known place in the galaxy):