This issue of the BNC asked us to consider the big questions around 21st space exploration. With the moon landing happening 50 years ago, one of the big things we have been talking about is what has happened since then. So I decided to ask the question: what is the greatest space-related achievement since Apollo 11 landed on the moon.
The BNC came up with lots of suggestions:
Wonderful_iceberg suggested that the greatest achievement has been discovering that there was once water on the surface of Mars. He said that this was really important because it might mean that there could be a river of water underneath Mars, which is exciting because where there is water, there is life. If there is water on Mars, that might mean we could find extra-terrestrial life or, at the very least, it might make it a suitable planet for human colonisation at some point in the future.
Emotional_cherry suggested the Hubble Telescope, which is a great invention because it has allowed scientists to take extremely high-resolution images. The images and information that the Hubble telescope has provided has led to significant progress in understanding our universe. It has even been able to see and take photos of galaxies 13.3 billion light years from Earth!
Easygoing_eel thought that the International Space Station was an amazing achievement, because it allowed scientists to investigate how space affects the human body, which is essential if we want to plan to travel even further into space or even inhabit other planets. Without the ISS, these investigations would have been much more difficult. There has been a lot of debate during the BNC issue about whether the ISS is worth the cost but, regardless of that, it has allowed us to find out much more about the universe in which we live.
Patient_parrot researched Voyager 2, which launched in 1977. This mission is incredible because it visited each of the outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune and is is still sending back data to Earth from over 11 billion miles away.
In my opinion, The Chandra X-Ray Observatory is the greatest space achievement of the last 50 years. This is the world's most powerful X-ray telescope, which has eight-times greater resolution and is able to detect sources more than 20-times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope. This is amazing because it can help us better understand the structure of our universe, for example exploded stars, clusters of galaxies, and matter around black holes. This is important if we want to learn as much as possible about what is out there.
What do you think is the greatest achievement since landing on the moon? What do you think will be the greatest achievement of the next 50 years?