What is the greatest space-related achievement of the last 50 years?

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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?

Comments (22)

  • Hammond School logo spirited_pear | Hammond Junior School A
    09 Dec 2019

    Wow wonderful _iceburg there was once ice on mars I am interested into how that could work because mars is incredibly hot so water would just melt.when was this and how do we know.

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    1. Lyons Hall Primary School industrious_cranberry | Lyons Hall Primary School C
      spirited_pear's comment 10 Dec 2019

      actually it is said that scientists have discovered that it is cold on Mars

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    2. Noel-Park-logo-250x250.jpg emotional_cherry | Noel Park Primary School
      spirited_pear's comment 11 Dec 2019

      Think about the position of Mars in relation to the sun. It is further away than Earth and is a cold, desert planet. It's average surface temperature is around -80 degrees Fahrenheit. It also has a thinner atmosphere than the Earth, which means that the planet cannot retain heat for very long which means that temperatures drop quickly.

      In terms of my evidence for ice being found on Mars, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been circling the planet since 2006, recently found a layered mix of ice and sand which might represent the planet’s polar ice caps. In addition, in 2016 NASA reported finding a large amount of underground ice on Mars (the volume of the water is equivalent to the amount of water in Lake Superior- the world’s largest freshwater lake). As far back as 2006, NASA released photos of two craters called Terra Sirenum and Centauri Montes which appeared to show the presence of liquid water on Mars at some point between 1999 and 2001. In 2015, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter provided evidence that water still flows intermittently on Mars today!

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  • Hammond School logo spirited_pear | Hammond Junior School A
    09 Dec 2019

    I mean the water would just evaporate.

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  • Bruntcliffe-logo-250x250.jpg enthusiastic_crab | Bruntcliffe Academy
    09 Dec 2019

    i think the best achievement we have made is that we have found away to have living in space.

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  • Highdown-logo-250x250.jpg frank_chocolate | Highdown School
    09 Dec 2019

    Before I begin, I would just like to clarify that I do not mean to hurt anyone's feelings, this is just my opinion. I think the best achievement is not something specific but it is the fact that we have gained so much knowledge and i am proud that scientists, astronauts, robotics engineers, and rocket engineers are extremely knowledgeable. In my opinion, we shouldn't think one thing is the best achievement but we should be proud of how much we now know about space.

    Since 50 years ago, scientists have built new robots, found quicker ways to get to space, discovered other universes and had an open-mind to keep persevering when they failed. Space exploration has given us so many new discoveries that to highlight one, that is the most amazing out of them all, is brushing everything else they have discovered, under the rug. So in conclusion, I am just proud that we have got to the knowledge level that we have already, and I cannot name just one amazing achievement; we have done so many great things.

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  • Hammond School logo radical_koala | Hammond Junior School F
    10 Dec 2019

    Personally, I think the groups of agencies have allowed us to define more and more information about space.

    As the many benefits of space activity have become visible, other countries have joined the Soviet Union and the United States in developing their own space programs. They include a number of Western European countries both working individually and, after 1975, cooperatively through the European Space Agency, as well as China, Japan, Canada, India, Israel, Iran and many more. By the second decade of the 21st centuary, more than 50 countries had space organisations carrying out space activities.

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    1. Olivia-Avatar.jpg Olivia @ the BNC
      radical_koala's comment 10 Dec 2019

      Please make sure all research is in your own words!

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  • Hammond School logo determined_shrimp | Hammond Junior School B
    10 Dec 2019

    I think our biggest accomplishment in the last 50 years is the Apollo11 mission, which was the first rocket to land on the moon sent by United States of America.the technology 50 years ago was a lot worse than it is now and still some rockets now don't make it into orbit or land on the moon. This shows how clever these astronauts and scientist were with that little equipment. This also shows the United States have more scientists and better knowledge than India because their most recent space rocket lost contact with Earth and the space station which is 49 years before this event so they should have had better equipment.

    Secondly, the mission was the first time a person has put a foot or flag on the moon's stone. This rocket traveled 384,400 kilometres and took 75 hours and 56 minutes. Those astronauts were able to complete a task that at the time was called impossible, so I think we should appreciate this incredible achievement and is the greatest achievement in the last 50 years.

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    1. Olivia-Avatar.jpg Olivia @ the BNC
      determined_shrimp's comment 10 Dec 2019

      Great reasoning shown here. What do you think the greatest science-related achievement on Earth has been in the last 50 years?

      Reply to this comment
      1. Hillyfield School logo crafty_reality | Hillyfield Primary Academy
        Olivia @ the BNC's comment 10 Dec 2019

        I think the greatest achievement is cloning because it is replicating genes and cells

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  • Lyons Hall Primary School sensitive_introduction | Lyons Hall Primary School A
    10 Dec 2019

    The first space station launched ( Salyut 1) – 19 April 1971
    The Soviet Union

    I think our biggest accomplishment in the last 50 years was the launch of the first space station the Salyut 1, in 1971. It orbited our Earth 2,929 times for 175 days and travelled 118,602,524 km. I chose this achievement in space history because it demonstrates how we have advanced from going into space for a short period of time, (4 days) to remaining in space for a longer duration of time (175 days). We still have a space station today that orbit earth and has adapted as time has progressed. In addition, there has been a following 8 space stations launched by the Salyut programme carrying on from Salyut 1. I believe that learning about the history of the Salyut 1 is essential to understanding how space stations have advanced. The Salyut 1 paved the way for the next 50 years of aeronautical discovery.

    But what would happen if The Soviet Union didn't launch the first space station. Would we have space stations today? Would we be as informed as we are now about the science of space travel?

    Reply to this comment
    1. tom Tom @ the BNC
      sensitive_introduction's comment 11 Dec 2019

      It was a momentous achievement! I like how you have drawn on its consequences and legacy as a way to highlight its importance. Well done!

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  • Lyons Hall Primary School romantic_forest | Lyons Hall Primary School B
    12 Dec 2019

    I think that are biggest achievement/accomplishment is building the nation space station.
    Many people would and wouldn't agree but i chose this one as the biggest achievement because it can hold many people in-space breathing oxygen at one time . Second reason is because the nation space station is used for testing spacecraft systems and equipment required for missions to the Moon and Mars .It is a large science laboratory at 400 kms (400000 meters ) from Earth’s surface. It offers us conditions that we don’t have here in Earth ( a microgravity environment) which is good for medicine.
    Loads of countries all around the would teamed up to build this masters peace .

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    1. tom Tom @ the BNC
      romantic_forest's comment 12 Dec 2019

      Which of these is the most valuable feature of the International Space Station?

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  • Hammond School logo versatile_molecule | Hammond Junior School B
    12 Dec 2019

    I think the greatest space related achievement of the last 50 years is the creation if the ISS.
    Firstly, it is a Hub for experiments, without the ISS we would be far back in medicine and cancer research.
    Secondly, many nations cooperated to build it, this shows that nations can work together and can set aside there differences, this also has built friendships and bonds between countries and individuals.
    Lastly, this achievement shows younger generations that they are capable of great things and that hard work pays of.
    However it is arguable that the 150 billion dollars that it cost to build the ISS could be spent on helping the planet and reducing poverty, the Greenland ice sheet is melting seven times faster than it was 25 years ago, I think this fact from BBC news shows that we really need to help our planet.
    But, I still think the ISS is a great achievement due to the amount of benefits it has given to many.
    It is truly a great achievement even though it costed lots, and that is my opinion, what's yours?

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  • Hammond School logo spirited_pear | Hammond Junior School A
    17 Dec 2019

    Yes I agree Wonderful _iceberg the most extrodenary thing that has happened was finding out there was once water on Mars which could mean we could have more space.Another great discovery was satellites because we can now take pictures of earth and study space.Also what another great discovery was is the internatiional space station.

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  • Hammond School logo resilient_apple | Hammond Junior School B
    20 Dec 2019

    I think the greatest achievement of the last 50 years was the first man on the moon because this was the first time humans ever landed on a different planet. Secondly, thanks to this scientists have gathered lots of research about the moon and now we can figure out how to get into space and how to get back to Earth safely. Thirdly, we are now figuring out how to get to mars but we have only figured half of that because we don't know how we can breath on mars yet but we know how to get to space thanks to the apollo 11 moon landing. Finally, I think this is the biggest achievement of the last 50 years because we now know loads of information about space and so many people are interested in space.

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    1. tom Tom @ the BNC
      resilient_apple's comment 20 Dec 2019

      Three good reasons!

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  • global-conversation.png fabulous_seal | Achimota Basic School | Ghana
    21 Apr 2020

    I think the greatest space achievement is the first satellite launched into space.The Soviet Union rocketed Sputnik into space on Oct. 4, 1957. This was the first artificial satellite any nation sent out of the Earth. The launch — revealed only after it was a success — stunned most of the Western world.

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