DUJS | 20F Print Journal

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Onward to Mars: The Past, Present, and Future of Human Space Travel STAFF WRITERS: DEV KAPADIA, AUDREY HERRALD, ANAHITA KODALI, KRISTAL WONG, AMITTAI WEKESA, ISAIAH MENNING EDITORIAL BOARD WRITER: SAM NEFF

Cover Image: The Space Shuttle Atlantis, shown soon after it undocked from the International Space Station in 2006. The Era of the Space Shuttle is not over, and the story of human space exploration has much left to be written. A slew of private companies (with the backing of NASA) have set their eyes on the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Introduction In the 20th century, humanity took to the sky. After little more than a half-century, aerospace exploration evolved from the first flight of Orville and Wilbur Wright to the Apollo 11 Moon landing. Yet even before the pace of change became so rapid, flight had been dreamed up as a concept for millennia. Glider flight, in fact, is thought to have been attempted (successfully) by the Andalusian polymath Abbas Ibn Firnas in 9th century AD. But autonomous air flight powered by an engine was a relatively new invention. And like all successful inventions, it was applied to meet the demands of a particular historical moment. After the Wright brothers, air travel developed in leaps and bounds because aerospace research was stimulated by Two World Wars and a Cold War - and heaps of government funding. Rocketry, pioneered in the early 20th century, arrived at center stage in the 1950s: Sputnik

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launched in 1957, NASA was founded in 1958, the Mercury and the Apollo missions played out in the 1960s. The Shuttle program progressed throughout the 70s and 80s, and then‌ the Cold War suddenly stopped. On Christmas Day 1991, Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev simply resigned, and the Soviet Union, for all intents and purposes, ceased to exist. Three decades of relative peace have followed. The United States and Russia even lodge together in the International Space Station. In recent years, though, space exploration has lit up with a new intensity, and this time the competition is between private companies the main contenders are not political figures like Reagan and Gorbachev, but private aerospace magnates: Bezos, Branson, and Musk. Regardless, there is still plenty of work for the politicians to do. As space becomes subject to more frequent and extensive exploration, international cooperation (and contest) will DARTMOUTH UNDERGRADUATE JOURNAL OF SCIENCE


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