23 August 2023

10 of the most amazing moments in 50 years of space exploration

23 August 2023

As India celebrates the successfully landing of a spacecraft near the Moon’s south pole, NewsChain looks at some of the most remarkable moments in space exploration over the last half a century.

1. Apollo 17 Lands on Moon (1972): The historic mission marked the last instance humanity took steps on lunar soil. Gene Cernan, the mission commander, became the last person to walk on the moon, marking a dramatic halt to human lunar missions for decades to follow.

2. Sojourner Rover's Mars Exploration (1997): The success of Mars Pathfinder and its Sojourner Rover marked the first-ever mobile exploration on Mars. This mission lifted the veil off the Martian surface and sparked humanity's fascination with the red planet.

3. Mir Space Station Collision (1997): Drama hit when an unmanned resupply spacecraft collided with Russia's Mir space station during a docking attempt, resulting in a depressurisation incident, one of the most severe crises in spaceflight history.

4. International Space Station (2000): A three-person crew stayed on the ISS for 136 days from November 2000, the start of continuous human presence and a groundbreaking achievement. It established humanity's foothold in space, opening opportunities for long-term space habitation.

5. Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster (2003): The world watched in disbelief as space shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon re-entry over Texas and Louisiana, killing all seven astronauts on board. This tragic incident became a turning point, triggering major changes in NASA operational environments.

6. Huygens Probe Lands on Titan (2005): The European Space Agency's Huygens probe became the first to land on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. The revelations of extraterrestrial seas and other geological features sparked extensive interest in space exploration.

7. Mars Rover Curiosity's Landing (2012): Curiosity's 'seven minutes of terror' during its self-guided landing on Mars held the world in suspense, eventually marking a monumentally successful mission that continues to operate today.

8. Rosetta Mission's Comet Landing (2014): The European Space Agency marked another dramatic feat in space history by landing the Rosetta mission's Philae lander on a speeding comet, a remarkable demonstration of precision and technological prowess.

9. First Picture of Black Hole (2019): The Event Horizon Telescope collaborative project gave us the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole, a revolutionary moment in our understanding of the universe.

10. Dragon Crew Demo-2 Mission (2020): SpaceX's Dragon Crew Demo-2 mission marked the return of human spaceflight from American soil after almost a decade. This mission paved the way for a new era of commercial spaceflight, making space travel more accessible.

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