The Moon has been studied by people for thousands of years, the earliest observations being made by the Chinese Astronomers. Lippershey's invention of the telescope in 1609 allowed the first detailed observations to be made and greatly increased humanity's curiosity. People believed the Moon contained vast lakes of frozen water, which they called Maria, e.g. Maria Tranquillitatis, Sea of Tranquillity. Studying the Moon from thousands of miles away on the Earth wasn't like being there. People wanted to land on the Moon!
Putting a person on the Moon was only possible through many discoveries and inventions. The Wright brothers invention of the aeroplane enabled people to fly, although in Greek Mythology Icarus had tried and failed 2000 years before. The further development of Rocketry by Von Braun in 1943, following the use of rocketry by the Chinese as a military weapon from 1045, was the beginning of the Space Age. The A 4 developed by Von Braun was the first successful ballistic rocket; it was renamed the V 2. It followed its programmed trajectory perfectly. It also used the beginning of computer technology. After the war, Von Braun and his rocket team worked on the further development of the V 2 rocket in the United States.
The Russians made the next significant development in Space Age exploration. In 1957 Sputnik 1 was launched, the first artificial satellite in space; Russia launched the Luna satellites in 1959 which obtained the first pictures of the far side of the moon. By 1964 Russia had put both Yuri Gagarin (the first man) and Valentina Tereshkova (the first woman) into space. American satellites included the Mariner Series, Mariner 2 obtaining the first detailed pictures of Venus in 1963, and Mariner 4 scanning Mars in 1964.
America continued to improve its rocket design and technology. Saturn rockets were developed which powered the Apollo Missions. Progress on Moon Landing Vehicle design also progressed including the Surveyor Series, Surveyor 6 landed on and successfully took off again from the lunar surface. Before the first successful manned landing on the Moon on July 20 th 1969 (Apollo 11) America had the proven rocket technology to get man into space, had designed and tested a lunar landing vehicle (The Lunar Module) which got man onto the Moon and off again and had designed a vehicle for successfully returning to Earth, the Command and Service Module.
Modern space exploration now concentrates on improving satellite technology and designing reusable Earth entry vehicles like the Space Shuttle. Further developments in Rocketry were needed to develop the Space Shuttle. Each of the three main engines in the tail of the shuttle can provide two and a half million Newton's of thrust, a force equal to that produced by all eight of the Saturn 1's first stage engines. The rocket engines are designed to be reusable. Each engine has a mass of only 3,200 kilograms, the best power to weight ratio in the world. However, despite all our advances, accidents still happen as the 1986 Challenger disaster proved.
Telescopes and instruments on modern satellites analyse astronomical objects such as stars, planets and moons in great detail. Typical examples are the Galileo satellite, which was designed to look at Jupiter's atmosphere and its surrounding moons, and Clementine which is a Lunar Orbiter mapping the Moon in detail. Perhaps the greatest development in recent Space Exploration is the Hubble Telescope, an orbiting telescope designed to observe distant galaxies and the nearby Solar System.
Read the article on the History of Moon Exploration and then answer the following questions.
1. Which nation put the first humans in space?
2. Name three "Seas" on the Moon.
3. What was the function of the Luna satellites?
4. Some people believe that "Man only reached the Moon because of Von Braun". What did Von Braun do that was so important?
5. What does "ballistic" mean?
6. How did the Surveyor 6 Mission help in putting people on the Moon?
7. What are the advantages of having a very expensive orbiting telescope, e.g. the Hubble telescope over cheaper ground based telescopes?
Thrust is just the force the engines are providing to accelerate a rocket. Using the equation:-
Force (or Thrust) = Mass x Acceleration to complete the following questions:-
Remember Mass = kg Acceleration = m/s² Force = Newton's (N)
8. A rocket of mass 50 kg, has an acceleration of 20 m/s², what is the force of the rocket motor?
9. A 300 kg rocket has an acceleration of 80 m/s², what is the force of the rocket motor?
10. What is the mass of a rocket when a force of 10,000 N produces an acceleration of 60 m/s²?
11. What is the mass of a rocket when a force of 5,000 N produces an acceleration of 50 m/s²?
12. What is the acceleration of a rocket of mass 1,200 kg and a motor of thrust of 180,000 N?
13. What is the acceleration of a rocket of mass 80 kg and a motor of thrust of 4,800 N?
14. The Space Shuttle orbiter, the part that goes into space, has a mass of 68 tonnes. After losing the booster rockets the main engines supply the thrust. Given that each of the three main engines give 2.5 million Newtons of thrust, what is the acceleration of the Shuttle?
15. What is the acceleration of the Space Shuttle when the cargo bay is full, i.e. 29 tonnes of satellites?
16. Write an article about the Saturn V Rocket and the Apollo Missions. Use the Internet or an encyclopaedia to find out the information. (http//www.ksc.nasa.gov/history/apollo//apollo.html)
17. Write an article about the Hubble telescope. Use the Internet for the information.
(http//www.yahoo.com/Science/Space then click on the Hubble telescope.)
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