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Museum of

The Museum of Skies wishes to connect with everyone that wants to know more about what happens above us. It will explain everything about it.The sky’s importance in everyday life, what it represents to our planet, its history and many other curiosities, all shown in the broadest way possible. With interactive artifacts, experiments that relate to everyday life, unveiled stories of the past, it is an educational space, not only for our next generations, but also for those that still want to learn. It is a place where we can learn our history, our past and what we represent now, looking for what happens and happened beyond our reach. And it also is a venue where we can know what we are expecting and researching for our future. A museum that never ceases to gather content and expand, always trying to be up to date about the new discoveries and whatever is being uncovered in relation to the universe we know so little about. Furthermore, we try to make science and space exploration more appealing for young people, so they can enter this brand-new research area, making more and more people interested in exposing the mysteries and hidden things of our universe.


Sky p. 7

Aviation p. 17

Universe p. 29

Space Exploration p. 61


Sky The region of the atmosphere and outer space seen from the earth.


museum of skies | sky

The Atmosphere It is a layer of gases surrounding a planet or other material body of sufficient mass that is held in place by the gravity of the body. The atmosphere of Earth is the layer of gases, commonly known as air, that surrounds the planet Earth and is retained by Earth’s gravity. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention — the greenhouse effect — and reducing temperature extremes between day and night — the diurnal temperature variation. By volume, dry air contains: 20.95% Oxygen

0.97% Other gases (Argon,Carbon dioxide, Neon, Helium and Methane)

78.08% Nitrogen


700 to 10,000 km

The upper limit of the atmosphere. The exosphere merges with the emptiness of outer space, where there is no atmosphere. The exosphere is located too far above Earth for any meteorological phenomena to be possible. However, the aurora borealis and aurora australis sometimes occur in the lower part of the exosphere, where they overlap into the thermosphere. The exosphere contains most of the satellites orbiting Earth.

80 to 700 km

The thermosphere is the second-highest layer of Earth’s atmosphere. Within this layer of the atmosphere, ultraviolet radiation causes photoionization/photodissociation of molecules, creating the ions in the ionosphere. This layer is completely cloudless and free of water vapor. However non-hydrometeorological phenomena such as the aurora borealis and aurora australis are occasionally seen in the thermosphere. The International Space Station orbits in this layer, between 320 and 380 km.

50 t0 80 km

The mesosphere is the third highest layer of Earth’s atmosphere. It is the coldest place on Earth and has an average temperature around −85 °C. The exact upper and lower boundaries of the mesosphere vary with latitude and with season. The mesosphere is also the layer where most meteors burn up upon atmospheric entrance. It is too high above Earth to be accessible to aircraft and balloons, and too low to permit orbital spacecraft. The mesosphere is mainly accessed by sounding rockets.

12 to 50 km

The stratosphere is the second major layer of Earth’s atmosphere. It is stratified in temperature, with warmer layers higher up and cooler layers farther down. This is in contrast to the troposphere near the Earth’s surface, which is cooler higher up and warmer farther down. The border of the troposphere and stratosphere, the tropopause, is marked by where this inversion begins, which in terms of atmospheric thermodynamics is the equilibrium level. It contains the ozone layer and is almost completely free of clouds and other forms of weather. This is the highest layer that can be accessed by jet-powered aircraft.

0 to 12 km

The troposphere is the lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere. Nearly all atmospheric water vapor or moisture is found in the troposphere, so it is the layer where most of Earth’s weather takes place. It has basically all the weather-associated cloud genus types generated by active wind circulation, although very tall cumulonimbus thunder clouds can penetrate the tropopause from below and rise into the lower part of the stratosphere. Most conventional aviation activity takes place in the troposphere, and it is the only layer that can be accessed by propeller-driven aircraft.


Ionosphere The ionosphere is a region of the atmosphere that is ionised by solar radiation. During daytime hours, it stretches from 50 to 1,000 km and includes the mesosphere, thermosphere, and parts of the exosphere. However, ionisation in the mesosphere largely ceases during the night, so auroras are normally seen only in the thermosphere and lower exosphere. The ionosphere forms the inner edge of the magnetosphere. It has practical importance because it influences, for example, radio propagation on Earth.

GREENHOUSE EFFECT The greenhouse effect is the process by which radiation from a planet's atmosphere warms the planet's surface to a temperature above what it would be without its atmosphere. Earth’s natural greenhouse effect is critical to supporting life. Human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests, have intensified the natural greenhouse effect, causing global warming. In the Solar System, there also greenhouse effects on Mars, Venus, and Titan.

The Clouds

Cloud types in the troposphere have Latin names due to the universal adaptation of Luke Howard’s nomenclature. It was formally proposed in December 1802 and published for the first time the following year. It became the basis of a modern international system that classifies these

tropospheric aerosols into several physical forms which can be found at various altitude levels or ĂŠtages. The ones that form above the troposphere have common names for their main types, but are sub-classified alpha-numerically rather than with the elaborate system of Latin names given to cloud types in the troposphere. Clouds have been observed on other planets and moons within the Solar System, but, due to their different temperature characteristics, they are often composed of other substances such as methane, ammonia, and sulfuric acid as well as water.


museum of skies | sky

A cloud is an aerosol comprising a visible mass of liquid droplets or frozen crystals made of water or various chemicals. The droplets or particles are suspended in the atmosphere above the surface of a planetary body. On Earth clouds are formed by the saturation of air in the homosphere when air cools or gains water vapor.

Types of Clouds museum of skies | sky

High Clouds


Detached clouds in the form of white, delicate filaments, mostly white patches or narrow bands. They may have a fibrous (hair-like) and/or silky sheen appearance. Cirrus clouds are always composed of ice crystals, and their transparent character depends upon the degree of separation of the crystals. As a rule when these clouds cross the sun’s disk they hardly diminish its brightness. Before sunrise and after sunset, cirrus is often colored bright yellow or red. These clouds are lit up long before other clouds and fade out much later.



Transparent, whitish veil clouds with a fibrous (hair-like) or smooth appearance. A sheet of cirrostratus which is very extensive, nearly always ends by covering the whole sky. A milky veil of fog (or thin Stratus) is distinguished from a veil of Cirrostratus of a similar appearance by the halo phenomena which the sun or the moon nearly always produces in a layer of cirrostratus.


Thin, white patch, sheet, or layered of clouds without shading. They are composed of very small elements in the form of more or less regularly arranged grains or ripples. In general Cirrocumulus represents a degraded state of cirrus and cirrostratus both of which may change into it and is an uncommon cloud. There will be a connection with cirrus or cirrostratus and will show some characteristics of ice crystal clouds.

Mid Clouds


White and/or gray patch, sheet or layered clouds, generally composed of laminae (plates), rounded masses or rolls. They may be partly fibrous or diffuse. When the edge or a thin semitransparent patch of altocumulus passes in front of the sun or moon a corona appears. This colored ring has red on the outside and blue inside and occurs within a few degrees of the sun or moon. The most common mid cloud, more than one layer of Altocumulus often appears at different levels at the same time. Many times Altocumulus will appear with other cloud types.


The continuous rain cloud. Resulting from thickening Altostratus, This is a dark gray cloud layer diffused by falling rain or snow. It is thick enough throughout to blot out the sun. The cloud base lowers into the low level of clouds as precipitation continues. Also, low, ragged clouds frequently occur beneath this cloud which sometimes merges with its base.


museum of skies | sky


Gray or bluish cloud sheets or layers of striated or fibrous clouds that totally or partially covers the sky.They are thin enough to regularly reveal the sun as if seen through ground glass. Altostratus clouds do not produce a halo phenomenon nor are the shadows of objects on the ground visible. Sometime virga is seen hanging from Altostratus, and at times may even reach the ground causing very light precipitation.

museum of skies | sky

Low Clouds


Detached, generally dense clouds and with sharp outlines that develop vertically in the form of rising mounds, domes or towers with bulging upper parts often resembling a cauliflower. The sunlit parts of these clouds are mostly brilliant white while their bases are relatively dark and horizontal. Over land cumulus develops on days of clear skies, and is due diurnal convection; it appears in the morning, grows, and then more or less dissolves again toward evening.



A generally gray cloud layer with a uniform base which may, if thick enough, produce drizzle, ice prisms, or snow grains. When the sun is visible through this cloud, its outline is clearly discernible. Often when a layer of stratus breaks up and dissipates blue sky is seen.


The thunderstorm cloud, this is a heavy and dense cloud in the form of a mountain or huge tower. The upper portion is usually smoothed, fibrous or striated and nearly always flattened in the shape of an anvil or vast plume. Under the base of this cloud which is often very dark, there are often low ragged clouds that may or may not merge with the base. They produce precipitation, which sometimes is in the form of virga. Cumulonimbus clouds also produce hail and tornadoes.


A fog is a cloud on the ground. It is composed of billions of tiny water droplets floating in the air. Fog exists if the atmospheric visibility near the Earth’s surface is reduced to 1 kilometer or less.


Gray or whitish patch, sheet, or layered clouds which almost always have dark tessellations (honeycomb appearance), rounded masses or rolls. Except for virga they are non-fibrous and may or may not be merged. They also have regularly arranged small elements with an apparent width of more than five degrees (three fingers - at arm’s length).


Contrails are condensation trails left behind jet aircrafts. Contrails form when hot humid air from jet exhaust mixes with environmental air of low vapor pressure and low temperature. The mixing is a result of turbulence generated by the engine exhaust.


Aviation The practical aspect or art of aeronautics, being the design, development, production, operation and use of aircraft, especially heavier than air aircraft.


museum of skies | aviation

A brief History of Aviation The history of aviation has extended over more than two thousand years, from the earliest forms of aviation, kites and attempts at tower jumping, to supersonic, and hypersonic flight by powered, heavier-than-air jets. From the earliest legends there have been stories of men strapping birdlike wings, stiffened cloaks or other devices to themselves and attempting to fly, typically by jumping off a tower. The Greek legend of Daedalus and Icarus is one of the earliest known, others originated from India, China and the European Dark Ages. During this early period the issues of lift, stability and control were not understood, and most attempts ended in serious injury or death. The kite may have been the first form of man-made aircraft. At the Renaissance, eventually, some investigators began to discover and define some of the basics of rational


aircraft design. Most notable of these was Leonardo da Vinci, although his work remained unknown until 1797, and so had no influence on developments over the next three hundred years. Leonardo studied bird flight, analysing it and anticipating many principles of aerodynamics. He did at least understand that "An object offers as much resistance to the air as the air does to the object. 1783 was a watershed year for ballooning and aviation. Ballooning became a major "rage" in Europe in the late 18th century, providing the first detailed understanding of the relationship between altitude and the atmosphere. Work on developing a steerable (or dirigible) balloon - now called an airship - continued sporadically throughout the 19th century. Airships were originally called "dirigible balloons" and are still sometimes called dirigibles today.


Da Vinci Bio

Leonardo da Vinci, was born on April 15, 1452, Anchiano, near Vinci, Republic of Florence (Italy and died on May 2, 1519, Cloux (now Clos-Lucé), France. He was an Italian painterx, draftsman, sculptor, architect, and engineer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. His Last Supper (1495–98) and Mona Lisa (c. 1503–06) are among the most widely popular and influential paintings of the Renaissance. His notebooks reveal a spirit of scientific inquiry and a mechanical inventiveness that were centuries ahead of their time. The unique fame that Leonardo enjoyed in his lifetime and that, filtered by historical criticism, has remained undimmed to the present day rests largely on his unlimited desire for knowledge, which guided

all his thinking and behaviour. An artist by disposition and endowment, he considered his eyes to be his main avenue to knowledge; to Leonardo, sight was man’s highest sense because it alone conveyed the facts of experience immediately, correctly, and with certainty. Hence, every phenomenon perceived became an object of knowledge, and saper vedere (“knowing how to see”) became the great theme of his studies. He applied his creativity to every realm in which graphic representation is used: he was a painter, sculptor, architect, and engineer. But he went even beyond that. He used his superb intellect, unusual powers of observation, and mastery of the art of drawing to study nature itself, a line of inquiry that allowed his dual pursuits of art and science to flourish.

museum of skies | aviation

Balloons A balloon is a flexible bag that can be inflated with a gas, such as helium, hydrogen, nitrous oxide, oxygen, or air. Modern day balloons are made from materials such as rubber, latex, polychloroprene, or a nylon fabric, and can come in many colors. In aeronautics, a balloon is an unpowered aerostat, which remains aloft or floats due to its buoyancy. A balloon may be free, moving with the wind, or tethered to a fixed point. A balloon is conceptually the simplest of all flying machines.

How it works? The balloon is a fabric envelope filled with a gas that is lighter than the surrounding atmosphere. As the entire balloon is less dense than its surroundings, it rises, taking along with it a basket, attached underneath, which carries passengers or payload. Although a balloon has no propulsion system, a degree of directional control is possible through making the balloon rise or sink in altitude to find favorable wind directions.

The Union Army Balloon Intrepid being inflated from the gas generators for the Battle of Fair Oaks (Mathew Brady, circa 1862)


Dirigibles How it works? Aerostats gain their lift from large gas bags filled with a lifting gas that is less dense than the surrounding air.

museum of skies |aviation

A dirigible is a type of aerostat or lighter-than-air aircraft that can navigate through the air under its own power. Airships were the first aircraft capable of controlled powered flight, and were most commonly used before the 1940s, but their use decreased over time as their capabilities were surpassed by those of aeroplanes.

Packard and the Graf Zeppelin (circa 1929)


museum of skies | aviation

The most successful early pioneering pilot of this type of aircraft was the Brazilian Alberto Santos-Dumont who effectively combined a balloon with an internal combustion engine. On October 19, 1901 he flew his airship "Number 6" over Paris from the Parc de Saint Cloud around the Eiffel Tower and back in under 30 minutes to win the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize. SantosDumont went on to design and build several aircraft. Using a methodological approach and concentrating on the controllability of the aircraft, the brothers built and tested a series of kite and glider designs from 1900 to 1902 before attempting to build a powered design. They made the first sustained, controlled, powered heavier-than-air manned flight on December 17, 1903.



Santos Dumont Bio

Alberto Santos-Dumont was born July 20, 1873, Cabangu, in Minas Gerais, Brazil and died on July 23, 1932, in São Paulo. He was a Brazilian aviation pioneer who captured the imagination of Europe and the United States with his airship flights and made the first significant flight of a powered airplane in Europe with his No. 14-bis. Santos-Dumont, the son of a wealthy coffee planter, traveled to France to study engineering, and he soon became fascinated by flight. His first balloon design was the Brazil, which he flew in 1898. However, he quickly turned his attention to powered airships. A total of 11 dirigibles emerged from Santos-Dumont’s workshop over the next decade. Santos-Dumont achieved one of the highpoints of his career on the afternoon of Oct. 19, 1901, when he won the 100,000-franc Deutsch Prize for an 11.3-km flight with his airship No. 6

from the Paris suburb of St. Cloud to the Eiffel Tower and back in less than half an hour. The victorious aeronaut cemented his position as one of the leading celebrities of the city when he presented one-quarter of the purse to his crew and the rest to the poor people of Paris. Inspired by stories of what the Wright brothers had accomplished in the United States, Santos-Dumont designed and flew a series of heavier-than-air flying machines. His major accomplishments include making the first public flight in Europe with a powered, winged aircraft on Sept. 13, 1906. Santos-Dumont remained active in aeronautical circles prior to World War I, developing the Demoiselle, a high-wing monoplane, in 1909. He returned to Brazil a national hero in 1928. He took his own life four years later, apparently depressed by the outbreak of a local war in which the airplane was employed as a weapon.

museum of skies | aviation

Airplanes is a powered, fixed-wing aircraft that is propelled forward by thrust from a jet engine or propeller. The broad spectrum of uses for airplanes includes recreation, transportation of goods and people, military, and research. Commercial aviation is a massive industry involving the flying of tens of thousands of passengers daily on airliners. Most airplanes are flown by a pilot on board the aircraft, but some are designed to be remotely or computer-controlled.

The 14-bis (side view)


The Pioneer Era of Aviation It refers to the period of aviation history between the first successful powered flight made by the Wright Brothers on 17 December 1903 and the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914.

1909 can be regarded as the year in which aviation came of age. At the end of 1908 the first exhibition devoted to aircraft was held in the Grand Palais in Paris, and this was followed by the first London Aero Exhibition at Olympia in May 1909. The AĂŠro-Club de France issued its first pilot's licenses in January, awarding them to a select few pioneer aviators including the Wright Brothers.

Airplanes evolved from low-powered biplanes made from wood and fabric to sleek, high-powered monoplanes made of aluminum. In the 1930s development of the jet engine began in Germany and in Britain — both countries would go on to develop jet aircraft by the end of World War II. After World War II, commercial aviation grew rapidly, using mostly ex-military aircraft to transport people and cargo.


museum of skies |aviation

After their flights in 1905 the Wrights stopped work on developing their aircraft and concentrated on trying to commercially exploit their invention, attempting to interest the military authorities of the United States and then, after being rebuffed, France and Great Britain.

Almost as soon as they were invented, airplanes were used for military purposes. The first country to use them for military purposes was Italy, whose aircraft made reconnaissance, bombing and artillery correction flights. The years between World War I and World War II saw great advancements in aircraft technology.

museum of skies | aviation

The 1945 invention of nuclear bombs briefly increased the strategic importance of military aircraft in the Cold War between East and West. Even a moderate fleet of long-range bombers could deliver a deadly blow to the enemy, so great efforts were made to develop countermeasures. At first, the supersonic interceptor aircraft were produced in considerable numbers. By 1955 most development efforts shifted to guided surface-to-air missiles. However, the approach diametrically changed when a new type of nuclearcarrying platform appeared that could not be stopped in any feasible way: intercontinental ballistic missiles. The possibility of these was demonstrated in 1957 with the launch of Sputnik 1 by the Soviet Union. This action started the Space Race between the nations.



The Wright brothers, Orville (1871 – 1948) and Wilbur (1867 – 1912) are credited with building and flying the first heavier than air aeroplane. They achieved the first recorded flight on 17 December 1903. Over the next 10 years they continued to develop the aircraft making a significant contribution to the development of the modern aeroplane. Their particular contribution was in the effective control of an airplane, through their three-axis control system. This basic principle is still used today. On December 17, 1903, the Wright Brothers made the first historic airplane flight, where Orville piloted the plane with Wilbur running at the wing tip. The first flight, by Orville, of 37 m in 12 seconds, at a speed of only 10.9 km/h over the ground, was recorded in a famous photograph. The next two flights covered approximately 53 m and 61 m, by Wilbur and Orville respectively. Their altitude was about 3 m above the ground. Five people witnessed the first flight, including John Daniels who

took the famous first flight photo.Over the next few years, they continued to develop their aircraft. However, they were conscious of needing to gain successful patents to make their aircraft commercially viable. They became reluctant to reveal too much about their flights and disliked reporters taking photos of their designs. Their secret approach and competing claims by other aircraft designers meant that for many years their inventions and flights were met with either indifference or scepticism. However, in 1908, Wilbur began public demonstrations in Le Mans, France. His ability to effortlessly make turns and manoeuvre the aircraft caused a sea change in public opinion, and the display of technically challenging flights caused widespread public acclaim and enthusiasm. In 1909, Wilbur made a public flight up the Hudson river in New York, circling the Statue of Liberty. This 33 minute flight established their fame in America.


Universe All of time and space and its contents. It includes planets, stars, galaxies, the contents of intergalactic space, the smallest subatomic particles, and all matter and energy.


museum of skies | universe

A brief History of the Universe The Universe can be defined as everything that exists, everything that has existed, and everything that will exist. According to our current understanding, the Universe consists of spacetime, forms of energy (including electromagnetic radiation and matter), and the physical laws that relate them. The Universe encompasses all of life, all of history, and some philosophers and scientists even suggest that it encompasses ideas such as mathematics and logic. Throughout recorded history, cosmologies and cosmogonies, including scientific models, have been proposed to explain observations of the Universe. The earliest quantitative geocentric models were developed by ancient Greek philosophers and Indian philosophers. Over the centuries, more


precise astronomical observations led to Nicolaus Copernicus’s heliocentric model of the Solar System. Further observational improvements led to the realization that the Solar System is located in a galaxy composed of billions of stars, the Milky Way. It was subsequently discovered that our galaxy is just one of many. On the largest scales, it is assumed that the distribution of galaxies is uniform and the same in all directions, meaning that the Universe has neither an edge nor a center. Observations of the distribution of these galaxies and their spectral lines have led to many of the theories of modern physical cosmology. The discovery in the early 20th century that galaxies are systematically redshifted suggested that the Universe

The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model describing the development of the Universe. Space and time were created in the Big Bang, and these were imbued with a fixed amount of energy and matter; as space expands, the density of that matter and energy decreases. After the initial expansion, the Universe cooled sufficiently to allow the

formation first of subatomic particles and later of simple atoms. Giant clouds of these primordial elements later coalesced through gravity to form stars. Assuming that the prevailing model is correct, the age of the Universe is measured to be 13.799Âą0.021 billion years. There are many competing hypotheses about the ultimate fate of the Universe. Physicists and philosophers remain unsure about what, if anything, preceded the Big Bang. Many refuse to speculate, doubting that any information from any such prior state could ever be accessible. There are various multiverse hypotheses, in which some physicists have suggested that the Universe might be one among many universes that likewise exist.


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is expanding, and the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation suggested that the Universe had a beginning Finally, observations in the late 1990s indicated the rate of the expansion of the Universe is increasing, indicating that the majority of energy is most likely in an unknown form called dark energy. The majority of mass in the universe also appears to exist in an unknown form, called dark matter.

museum of skies | universe

The Big Bang Theory The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model for the universe from the earliest known periods through its subsequent large-scale evolution. The model accounts for the fact that the universe expanded from a very high density and high temperature state, and offers a comprehensive explanation for a broad range of phenomena, including the abundance of light elements, the cosmic microwave background. If the known laws of physics are extrapolated beyond where they have been verified, there is a singularity. Some estimates place this moment at approximately 13.8 billion years ago, which is thus considered the age of the universe. After the initial expansion, the universe cooled sufficiently to allow the formation of subatomic particles, and later simple atoms. Giant clouds of these primordial elements later coalesced through gravity to form stars and galaxies. Since Georges LemaĂŽtre first noted, in 1927, that an expanding universe might be traced back in time to an originating single point, scientists have built on


his idea of cosmic expansion. While the scientific community was once divided between supporters of two different expanding universe theories, the Big Bang and the Steady State theory, accumulated empirical evidence provides strong support for the former. In 1929, from analysis of galactic redshifts, Edwin Hubble concluded that galaxies are drifting apart; this is important observational evidence consistent with the hypothesis of an expanding universe. In 1965, the cosmic microwave background radiation was discovered, which was crucial evidence in favor of the Big Bang model, since that theory predicted the existence of background radiation throughout the universe before it was discovered. More recently, measurements of the redshifts of supernovae indicate that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, an observation attributed to dark energy’s existence.The known physical laws of nature can be used to calculate the characteristics of the universe in detail back in time to an initial state of extreme density and temperature.

museum of skies | universe

While the Big Bang model is well established in cosmology, it is likely to be refined. The Big Bang theory, built upon the equations of classical general relativity, indicates a singularity at the origin of cosmic time; this infinite energy density is regarded as impossible in physics. Still, it is known that the equations are not applicable before the time when the universe cooled down to the Planck temperature, and this conclusion depends on various assumptions, of which some could never be experimentally verified. One proposed refinement to avoid this would-be singularity is to develop a correct treatment of quantum gravity. It is not known what could have preceded the hot dense state of the early universe or how and why it originated, though speculation abounds in the field of cosmogony.


museum of skies | universe

The Solar System It is the gravitationally bound system comprising the Sun and the objects that orbit it, either directly or indirectly. Of those objects that orbit the Sun directly, the largest eight are the planets, with the remainder being significantly smaller objects, such as dwarf planets and small Solar System bodies. The Solar System formed 4.6 billion years ago from the gravitational collapse of a giant interstellar molecular cloud. The vast majority of the system’s mass is in the Sun, with most of the remaining mass contained in Jupiter. The four smaller inner planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, are terrestrial planets, being primarily composed of rock and metal. The four outer planets are giant planets, being substantially more massive than the terrestrials. The two largest,


Jupiter and Saturn, are gas giants, being composed mainly of hydrogen and helium; the two outermost planets, Uranus and Neptune, are ice giants, being composed mostly of substances with relatively high melting points compared with hydrogen and helium, called ices, such as water, ammonia and methane. All planets have almost circular orbits that lie within a nearly flat disc called the ecliptic. It also contains smaller objects.The asteroid belt, which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, mostly contains objects composed, like the terrestrial planets, of rock and metal. Beyond Neptune’s orbit lie the Kuiper belt and scattered disc, which are populations of trans-Neptunian objects composed mostly of ices, and beyond them a newly discovered population of sednoids.

museum of skies | universe

Within these populations are several dozen to possibly tens of thousands of objects large enough that they have been rounded by their own gravity. Such objects are categorized as dwarf planets. Identified dwarf planets include the asteroid Ceres and the trans-Neptunian objects Pluto and Eris. In addition to these two regions, various other smallbody populations, including comets, centaurs and interplanetary dust, freely travel between regions. Six of the planets, at least three of the dwarf planets, and many of the smaller bodies are orbited by natural satellites, usually termed “moons� after the Moon. Each of the outer planets is encircled by planetary rings of dust and other small objects.


Sun The Sun is the Solar System's star and by far its most massive component. Its large mass produces temperatures and densities in its core high enough to sustain nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium, making it a main-sequence star. This releases an enormous amount of energy, mostly radiated into space as electromagnetic radiation peaking in visible light. Stars brighter and hotter than the Sun are rare, whereas substantially dimmer and cooler stars, known as red dwarfs, make up 85% of the stars in the Milky Way. The Sun has a higher abundance of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. Elements heavier than hydrogen and helium were formed in the cores of ancient and exploding stars, so the first generation of stars had to die before the Universe could be enriched with these atoms. The oldest stars contain few metals, whereas stars born later have more. This high metallicity is thought to have been crucial to the Sun's development of a planetary system.

Mercury Mercury is the smallest planet in the Solar System and the one closest to the Sun, with an orbital period of about 88 Earth days, which is much faster than any other planet in the Solar System. Seen from Earth, it appears to move around its orbit in about 116 days. Partly because it has almost no atmosphere to retain heat, Mercury’s surface temperature varies diurnally more than any other planet in the Solar System, ranging from −173 °C at night to 427 °C during the day in some equatorial regions. Mercury’s axis has the smallest tilt of any of the Solar System’s planets. Its surface is heavily cratered and similar in appearance to the Moon, indicating that it has been geologically inactive for billions of years. It rotates in a way that is unique in the Solar System. As seen relative to the fixed stars, it rotates on its axis exactly three times for every two revolutions

it makes around the Sun. As seen from the Sun, in a frame of reference that rotates with the orbital motion, it appears to rotate only once every two Mercurian years. An observer on Mercury would therefore see only one day every two years. Because Mercury orbits the Sun within Earth’s orbit, it can appear in Earth’s sky in the morning or the evening, but not in the middle of the night. Also, like Venus and the Moon, it displays a complete range of phases as it moves around its orbit relative to Earth. Although Mercury can appear as a bright object when viewed from Earth, its proximity to the Sun makes it more difficult to see than Venus.

Venus It is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. It has the longest rotation period (245 days) of any planet in the Solar System and rotates in the opposite direction to most other planets. It has no natural satellite. It is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. It is the second-brightest natural object in the night sky after the Moon, bright enough to cast shadows. Because Venus is an inferior planet from Earth, it never appears to venture far from the Sun. Venus is a terrestrial planet and is sometimes called Earth’s “sister planet” because of their similar size, mass, proximity to the Sun, and bulk composition. It is radically different from Earth in other respects. It has the densest atmosphere of the four terrestrial planets, consisting of more than 96% carbon dioxide. The atmospheric pressure at the planet’s surface is 92 times that of Earth. Venus is by far the hottest planet in the Solar System, with a mean surface temperature of 462 °C, even though Mercury is closer to the Sun.

It may have had water oceans in the past, but these would have vaporised as the temperature rose due to a runaway greenhouse effect. The water has probably photodissociated, and the free hydrogen has been swept into interplanetary space by the solar wind because of the lack of a planetary magnetic field. Venus’s surface is a dry desertscape interspersed with slab-like rocks and periodically resurfaced by volcanism. As one of the brightest objects in the sky,Venus has been a major fixture in human culture for as long as records have existed. It has been made sacred to gods of many cultures, and has been a prime inspiration for writers and poets as the “morning star” and “evening star”.Venus was the first planet to have its motions plotted across the sky, as early as the second millennium BC, and was a prime target for early interplanetary exploration as the closest planet to Earth.

Earth and Moon Earth is the third planet from the Sun, the densest planet in the Solar System, the largest of the Solar System’s four terrestrial planets, and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. Earth gravitationally interacts with other objects in space, especially the Sun and the Moon. Earth’s lithosphere is divided into several rigid tectonic plates that migrate across the surface over periods of many millions of years. 71% of Earth’s surface is covered with water, with the remainder consisting of continents and islands that together have many lakes and other sources of water that contribute to the hydrosphere. Its interior remains active with a solid iron inner core, a liquid outer core that generates the magnetic field, and a convecting mantle that drives plate tectonics. Within its first billion years, life appeared in Earth’s oceans and began to affect its atmosphere and surface, leading to the proliferation of aerobic and anaerobic organisms. Since then,

the combination of Earth’s distance from the Sun, its physical properties and its geological history have allowed life to thrive and evolve. The Moon is Earth’s only permanent natural satellite. Its gravitational interaction with Earth causes ocean tides, stabilises the orientation of Earth’s rotational axis, and gradually slows Earth’s rotational rate. The tides on Earth are mostly generated by the gradient in intensity of the Moon’s gravitational pull from one side of Earth to the other, the tidal forces. This forms two tidal bulges on Earth, which are most clearly seen in elevated sea level as ocean tides. Unlike most satellites of other planets, the Moon orbits closer to the ecliptic plane than to the planet’s equatorial plane. The Moon’s regular phases make it a very convenient timepiece, and the periods of its waxing and waning form the basis of many of the oldest calendars. It is of major importance to many ancient cultures when measuring time.

Mars Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, after Mercury. Named after the Roman god of war, it is often referred to as the “Red Planet”because its reddish appearance. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth. The rotational period and seasonal cycles of Mars are likewise similar to those of Earth, as is the tilt that produces the seasons. its orbital period is 687 Earth days. The solar day on Mars is only slightly longer than an Earth day: 24 hours, 39 minutes, and 35.244 seconds. A Martian year is equal to 1 year, 320 days and 18.2 hours. Martian surface temperatures vary from lows of about −143 °C at the winter polar caps to highs of up to 35 °C in equatorial summer.

Mars is host to seven functioning spacecraft: five in orbit and two on the surface. Observations by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have revealed possible flowing water during the warmest months on Mars. There are ongoing investigations assessing the past habitability potential of Mars, as well as the possibility of extant life.

Asteroid belt The asteroid belt is the circumstellar disc in the Solar System located roughly between the orbits of the planets Mars and Jupiter. It is occupied by numerous irregularly shaped bodies called asteroids or minor planets. The asteroid belt is also termed the main asteroid belt or main belt to distinguish it from other asteroid populations in the Solar System such as near-Earth asteroids and trojan asteroids. About half the mass of the belt is contained in the four largest asteroids: Ceres,Vesta, Pallas, and Hygiea. Ceres is the asteroid belt’s only dwarf planet. Contrary to popular imagery, the asteroid belt is mostly empty. The asteroids are spread over such a large volume that it would be improbable to reach an asteroid without aiming carefully. Nonetheless, hundreds of thousands of asteroids are currently known, and the total number ranges in the millions or more, depending on the lower size cutoff.

Most belt asteroids imaged to date have come from brief flyby opportunities by probes headed for other targets. Only the Dawn, NEAR and Hayabusa missions have studied asteroids for a protracted period in orbit and at the surface. Dawn explored Vesta from July 2011 to September 2012, and has been orbiting Ceres since March 2015.

Jupiter Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a giant planet with a mass onethousandth that of the Sun, but two and a half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined. Jupiter is a gas giant, along with Saturn. Jupiter was known to astronomers of ancient times. The Romans named it after their god Jupiter. It completes an orbit every 11.86 years. When viewed from Earth, Jupiter is bright enough for its reflected light to cast shadows and makes it the third-brightest object in the night sky after the Moon and Venus. Jupiter is primarily composed of hydrogen with a quarter of its mass being helium, though helium comprises only about a tenth of the number of molecules. It may also have a rocky core of heavier elements, but like the other giant planets, Jupiter lacks a welldefined solid surface.

Surrounding Jupiter is a faint planetary ring system and a powerful magnetosphere. Jupiter has at least 67 moons, including the four large Galilean moons discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610. Ganymede, the largest of these, has a diameter greater than that of the planet Mercury.

Saturn Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest in the Solar System, after Jupiter. It is a gas giant with an average radius about nine times that of Earth. Saturn is named after the Roman god of agriculture. Saturn has a prominent ring system that consists of nine continuous main rings and three discontinuous arcs and that is composed mostly of ice particles with a smaller amount of rocky debris and dust. Sixty-two moons are known to orbit Saturn, of which fifty-three are officially named. This does not include the hundreds of moonlets comprising the rings. Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, and the second-largest in the Solar System, is larger than the planet Mercury, although less massive, and is the only moon in the Solar System to have a substantial atmosphere. it takes Saturn about 29 1⁄2 years to finish one revolution around the Sun. Thermography has shown that Saturn’s south pole has a warm polar

vortex, the only known example of such a phenomenon in the Solar System. Whereas temperatures on Saturn are normally −185 °C, temperatures on the vortex often reach as high as −122 °C, suspected to be the warmest spot on Saturn. There have been three main phases in the observation and exploration of Saturn. The first era was ancient observations — such as with the naked eye — before the invention of the modern telescopes. Starting in the 17th century progressively more advanced telescopic observations from Earth have been made. The other type is visitation by spacecraft, either by orbiting or flyby. In the 21st century observations continue from the Earth or Earth-orbiting observatories and from the Cassini orbiter at Saturn.

Uranus Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun. It has the third-largest planetary radius and fourth-largest planetary mass in the Solar System. Uranus is similar in composition to Neptune, and both have different bulk chemical composition from that of the larger gas giants Jupiter and Saturn. For this reason, scientists often classify Uranus and Neptune as “ice giants” to distinguish them from the gas giants. Uranus’s atmosphere is similar to Jupiter’s and Saturn’s in its primary composition of hydrogen and helium, but it contains more “ices” such as water, ammonia, and methane, along with traces of other hydrocarbons. It is the coldest planetary atmosphere in the Solar System, with a minimum temperature of −224.2 °C, and has a complex, layered cloud structure with water thought to make up the lowest clouds and methane the uppermost layer of clouds. The interior of Uranus is mainly composed of ices and rock. Uranus is the only planet whose name is derived from a figure from Greek mythology, from the Latinized version

of the Greek god of the sky Ouranos. Like the other giant planets, Uranus has a ring system, a magnetosphere, and numerous moons. The Uranian system has a unique configuration among those of the planets because its axis of rotation is tilted sideways, nearly into the plane of its solar orbit. Its north and south poles, therefore, lie where most other planets have their equators. Uranus orbits the Sun once every 84 years and the rotational period of the interior of Uranus is 17 hours, 14 minutes. Each pole gets around 42 years of continuous sunlight, followed by 42 years of darkness. In 1986, images from Voyager 2 showed Uranus as an almost featureless planet in visible light, without the cloud bands or storms associated with the other giant planets. Observations from Earth have shown seasonal change and increased weather activity as Uranus approached its equinox in 2007.

Neptune Neptune is the eighth and farthest known planet from the Sun in the Solar System. It is the fourth-largest planet by diameter and the third-largest by mass. Among the giant planets in the Solar System, Neptune is the most dense. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth and is slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus, which is 15 times the mass of Earth and slightly larger than Neptune. Neptune orbits the Sun once every 164.8 years. It is named after the Roman god of the sea. Neptune is not visible to the unaided eye and is the only planet in the Solar System found by mathematical prediction rather than by empirical observation. Neptune has a planetary ring system, though one much less substantial than that of Saturn. The rings may consist of ice particles coated with silicates or carbon-based material, which most likely gives them a reddish hue. Neptune has 14 known moons and Triton is the largest Neptunian moon.

Unlike all other large planetary moons in the Solar System, Triton has a retrograde orbit, indicating that it was captured rather than forming in place; it was probably once a dwarf planet in the Kuiper belt. A recent proposal is for Argo, a flyby spacecraft to be launched in 2019, that would visit Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and a Kuiper belt object. The focus would be on Neptune and its largest moon Triton to be investigated around 2029.

Pluto Pluto is a dwarf planet in the Kuiper belt, a ring of bodies beyond Neptune. It is the largest and second-mostmassive known dwarf planet in the Solar System and the ninth-largest and tenth-most-massive known object directly orbiting the Sun. Pluto was discovered in 1930, and was originally considered the ninth planet from the Sun. After 1992, its status as a planet fell into question following the discovery of several objects of similar size in the Kuiper belt. In 2005, Eris, which is 27% more massive than Pluto, was discovered, which led the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to define the term “planet” formally for the first time the following year.This definition excluded Pluto and reclassified it as a member of the new “dwarf planet” category. Pluto has five known moons: Charon — the largest, with a diameter just over half that of Pluto — ,Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra. Pluto and Charon are sometimes considered a binary

system because the barycenter of their orbits does not lie within either body.. The IAU has not formalized a definition for binary dwarf planets, and Charon is officially classified as a moon of Pluto. Pluto’s orbital period is 248 Earth years. Its orbital characteristics are substantially different from those of the planets, which follow nearly circular orbits around the Sun close to a flat reference plane called the ecliptic. Pluto’s rotation period, its day, is equal to 6.39 Earth days. Like Uranus, Pluto rotates on its “side” on its orbital plane, with an axial tilt of 120°, and so its seasonal variation is extreme; at its solstices, one-fourth of its surface is in continuous daylight, whereas another fourth is in continuous darkness. On July 14, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft became the first spacecraft to fly by Pluto. During its brief flyby, New Horizons made detailed measurements and observations of Pluto and its moons.

Kuiper Belt The Kuiper belt, sometimes called the Edgeworth–Kuiper belt, is a circumstellar disc in the Solar System beyond the planets, extending from the orbit of Neptune to farthest from the Sun. It is similar to the asteroid belt, but it is far larger—20 times as wide and 20 to 200 times as massive. Like the asteroid belt, it consists mainly of small bodies, or remnants from the Solar System’s formation. Although many asteroids are composed primarily of rock and metal, most Kuiper belt objects are composed largely of frozen volatiles (termed “ices”), such as methane, ammonia and water. The Kuiper belt is home to three officially recognized dwarf planets: Pluto, Haumea, and Makemake. Some of the Solar System’s moons, such as Neptune’s Triton and Saturn’s Phoebe, are also thought to have originated in the region.


Space Exploration is the ongoing discovery and exploration of celestial structures in outer space by means of continuously evolving and growing space technology.


museum of skies | space exploration

A brief history of Space Exploration Humans have always looked at the heavens and wondered about the nature of the objects seen in the night sky. With the development of rockets and the advances in electronics and other technologies in the 20th century, it became possible to send machines and animals and then people above Earth’s atmosphere into outer space. Well before technology made these achievements possible, however, space exploration had already captured the minds of many people, not only aircraft pilots and scientists but also writers and artists. The strong hold that space travel has always had on the imagination may well explain why professional astronauts and laypeople alike consent at their great peril, in the words of Tom Wolfe in The Right Stuff (1979), to sit “on top of an enormous Roman candle, such as a Redstone, Atlas, Titan or Saturn rocket, and wait for someone to light the fuse.”


It perhaps also explains why space exploration has been a common and enduring theme in literature and art. As centuries of speculative fiction in books and more recently in films make clear, “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind” was taken by the human spirit many times and in many ways before Neil Armstrong stamped humankind’s first footprint on the Moon. Achieving spaceflight enabled humans to begin to explore the solar system and the rest of the universe, to understand the many objects and phenomena that are better observed from a space perspective, and to use for human benefit the resources and attributes of the space environment. All of these activities — discovery, scientific understanding, and the application of that understanding to serve human purposes—are elements of space exploration.

Motivations for space activity

Government space programs have increased knowledge, served as indicators of national prestige and power, enhanced national security and military strength, and provided significant benefits to the general public. In areas where the private sector could profit from activities in space, most notably the use of satellites as telecommunication relays, commercial space activity has flourished without government funding.

In the early 21st century, entrepreneurs believed that there were several other areas of commercial potential in space, most notably privately funded space travel. In the years after World War II, governments assumed a leading role in the support of research that increased fundamental knowledge about nature, a role that earlier had been played by universities, private foundations, and other nongovernmental supporters. This change came for two reasons. First, the need for complex equipment to carry out many scientific experiments and for the large teams of researchers to use that equipment led to costs that only governments could afford. Second, governments were willing to take on this responsibility because they believed that fundamental research would produce new knowledge essential to the health, security, and the quality of life of their citizens.


museum of skies | space exploration

Although the possibility of exploring space has long excited people in many walks of life, for most of the latter 20th century, only national governments could afford the very high costs of launching people and machines into space. This reality meant that space exploration had to serve very broad interests, and it indeed has done so in a variety of ways.

museum of skies | space exploration

Thus, when scientists sought government support for early space experiments, it was forthcoming. Since the start of space efforts in the United States, the Soviet Union, and Europe, national governments have given high priority to the support of science done in and from space. From modest beginnings, space science has expanded under government support to include multibillion-dollar exploratory missions in the solar system. Examples of such efforts include the development of the Curiosity Mars rover, the CassiniHuygens mission to Saturn and its moons, and the development of major spacebased astronomical observatories such as the Hubble Space Telescope. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1957 used the fact that his country had been first to launch a satellite as evidence of the technological power of the Soviet Union and of the superiority of communism. He repeated these claims after Yury Gagarin’s orbital flight in 1961. Although U.S. Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower had decided not to compete for prestige with the Soviet Union in a space race, his successor, John F. Kennedy, had a different view. On April 20, 1961, in the aftermath of the Gagarin flight, he asked his advisers to identify a “space program which


promises dramatic results in which we could win.” The response came in a May 8, 1961, memorandum recommending that the United States commit to sending people to the Moon, because “dramatic achievements in space… symbolize the technological power and organizing capacity of a nation” and because the ensuing prestige would be “part of the battle along the fluid front of the cold war.” From 1961 until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, competition between the United States and the Soviet Union was a major influence on the pace and content of their space programs. Other countries also viewed having a successful space program as an impor tant indicator of national strength. Even before the first satellite was launched, U.S. leaders recognized that the ability to observe military activities around the world from space would be an asset to national security. Following on the success of its photoreconnaissance satellites, which began operation in 1960, the United States built increasingly complex observation and electronic-intercept intelligence satellites.


In the United States, Robert Hutchings Goddard became interested in space exploration after reading works such as The War of the Worlds. In his 1904 high-school graduation speech, he stated that “it is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.” He received his first two patents for rocket technology in 1914, and, with funding from the Smithsonian Institution, he published a theoretical treatise, A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes, in 1919. Goddard’s claim that rockets could be used to send objects as far as the Moon was widely ridiculed in the public press, including The New York Times (which published a retraction on July 17, 1969, the day after the launch of the first manned mission to the Moon). Thereafter, the already shy Goddard conducted much of his work in secret,

preferring to patent rather than publish his results. This approach limited his influence on the development of American rocketry, although early rocket developers in Germany took notice of his work. In the 1920s, as a professor of physics at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, he began to experiment with liquid-fueled rockets. His first rocket, launched in Auburn, Massachusetts, on March 16, 1926, rose 12.5 metres and traveled 56 metres from its launching place. The noisy character of his experiments made it difficult for Goddard to continue work in Massachusetts. With support from an aviator and financial assistance from a philanthropic Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics, he moved to Roswell, New Mexico, where from 1930 to 1941 he built engines and launched rockets of increasing complexity.


Yury Alekseyevich Gagarin was a Soviet cosmonaut who in 1961 became the first man to travel into space. He was born on March 9, 1934 and died on March 27, 1968. The son of a carpenter on a collective farm, Gagarin graduated as a molder from a trade school near Moscow in 1951. He continued his studies at the industrial college at Saratov and concurrently took a course in flying. On completing this course, he entered the Soviet Air Force cadet school at Orenburg, from which he graduated in 1957. Gagarin’s 4 3/4-ton Vostok 1 spacecraft was launched at 9:07 am Moscow time on April 12, 1961, orbited Earth once in 1 hour 29 minutes at a maximum altitude of 187 miles (301 km), and landed at 10:55 am in the Soviet Union. His spaceflight brought him

immediate worldwide fame. He was awarded the Order of Lenin and given the titles of Hero of the Soviet Union and Pilot Cosmonaut of the Soviet Union. Monuments were raised to him, and streets were renamed in his honour across the Soviet Union. Gagarin never went into space again but took an active part in training other cosmonauts. He made several tours to other nations following his historic flight, and from 1962 he served as a deputy to the Supreme Soviet. Gagarin was killed with another pilot in the crash of a two-seat jet aircraft while on what was described as a routine training flight. His ashes were placed in a niche in the Kremlin wall. After his death in 1968 the town of Gzhatsk was renamed Gagarin.

In addition to providing security benefits, satellites offered military forces the potential for improved communications, weather observation, navigation, timing, and position location. This led to significant government funding for military space programs in the United States and the Soviet Union. Although the advantages and disadvantages of stationing forcedelivery weapons in space have been debated, as of the early 21st century, such weapons had not been deployed, nor had space-based antisatellite systems—that is, systems that can attack or interfere with orbiting satellites. The stationing of weapons of mass destruction in orbit or on celestial bodies is prohibited by international law.

Governments realized early on that the ability to observe Earth from space could provide significant benefits to the general public apart from security and military uses. The first application to be pursued was the development of satellites for assisting in weather forecasting. A second application involved remote observation of land and sea surfaces to gather imagery and other data of value in crop forecasting, resource management, environmental monitoring, and other applications. The U.S. and Soviet governments also developed their own satellite-based global positioning systems, originally for military purposes, that could pinpoint a user’s exact location, help in navigating from one point to another, and provide very precise time signals. These satellites quickly found numerous civilian uses in such areas as personal navigation, surveying and cartography, geology, air-traffic control, and the operation of information-transfer networks. They illustrate a reality that has remained constant for a half century—as space capabilities are developed, they often can be used for both military and civilian purposes.


museum of skies | space exploration

The Soviet Union also quickly developed an array of intelligence satellites, and later a few other countries instituted their own satellite observation programs. Intelligencegathering satellites have been used to verify arms-control agreements, provide warnings of military threats, and identify targets during military operations, among other uses.

museum of skies | space exploration

Another space application that began under government sponsorship but quickly moved into the private sector is the relay of voice, video, and data via orbiting satellites. Satellite telecommunications has developed into a multibillion-dollar business and is the one clearly successful area of commercial space activity.

Suggestions have been made that in the future other areas of space activity, including remote sensing of Earth, utilization of resources found on the Moon and near-Earth asteroids, and the capture of solar energy to provide electric power on Earth, could become successful businesses.

Most space activities have been pursued A related, but economically much because they serve some utilitarian smaller, commercial space business is purpose, whether increasing knowledge, the provision of launches for private adding to national power, or making and government satellites. In 2004 a profit. Nevertheless, there remains a privately financed venture sent a a powerful underlying sense that it is piloted spacecraft, SpaceShipOne, to important for humans to explore space the lower edge of space for three brief for its own sake, “to see what is there.” suborbital flights. Although the only voyages that humans Although it was technically a much less have made away from the near vicinity of challenging achievement than carrying Earth—the Apollo flights to the Moon— humans into orbit, its success was seen were motivated by Cold War competition, as an important step toward opening there have been recurrent calls for up space to commercial travel and humans to return to the Moon, travel to eventually to tourism. Nearly a decade Mars, and visit other locations in the solar after SpaceShipOne reached space, system and beyond. Until humans resume several firms were poised to carry out such journeys of exploration, robotic such suborbital flights, with one, Virgin spacecraft will continue to serve in their Galactic, projecting the beginning of stead to explore the solar system and service before the end of 2014. probe the mysteries of the universe.



Neil Alden Armstrong was born on August 5, 1930, in Wapakoneta, U.S. and died on August 25, 2012, in Cincinnati. Armstrong became a licensed pilot on his 16th birthday and a naval air cadet in 1947. His studies in aeronautical engineering were interrupted in 1950 by his service in the Korean War. In 1955 he became a civilian research pilot for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), later the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In 1962 Armstrong joined the space program with its second group of astronauts. On 1966, Armstrong, as command pilot of Gemini 8, and David R. Scott rendezvoused with an unmanned Agena rocket and completed the first manual space docking maneuver. On 1969, Armstrong, along with other astronauts, blasted off in the Apollo 11 vehi-

cle toward the Moon. Four days later, the Eagle lunar landing module, guided manually by Armstrong. On July 20, 1969, Armstrong stepped from the Eagle onto the Moon’s dusty surface with the words, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” The crew deployed scientific instruments, collected surface samples, and took numerous photographs. On July 21, after 21 hours and 36 minutes on the Moon, they began the voyage back to Earth. After splashdown in the Pacific on July 24, the three astronauts spent 18 days in quarantine to guard against possible contamination by lunar microbes. During the days that followed and the tour of 21 nations, they were hailed for their part in the opening of a new era in human exploration of the universe.


Stephen William Hawking was born on January 8, 1942, Oxford, England. He is an English theoretical physicist whose theory of exploding black holes drew upon both relativity theory and quantum mechanics. He also worked with space-time singularities. Hawking studied physics at University College, Oxford in 1962 and Trinity Hall, Cambridge in 1966. He was elected a research fellow at Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge. In the early 1960s, Hawking contracted amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an incurable degenerative neuromuscular disease. He continued to work despite the disease’s progressively disabling effects. Hawking worked primarily in the field of general relativity and particularly on the physics of black holes. Hawking’s work greatly spurred efforts to theoretically delineate the properties of black holes, objects about which it was previously thought that nothing could be

known. Hawking’s contributions to physics earned him many exceptional honours. In 1974 the Royal Society elected him one of its youngest fellows. He became professor of gravitational physics at Cambridge in 1977, and after was appointed to Cambridge’s Lucasian professorship of mathematics, a post once held by Isaac Newton. Hawking was made a Commander of the British Empire in 1982 and a Companion of Honour in 1989. He also received the Copley Medal from the Royal Society in 2006 and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. In 2008 he accepted a visiting research chair at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada. His publications include the best sellers A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (1988), The Universe in a Nutshell (2001), A Briefer History of Time (2005), and The Grand Design (2010; coauthored with Leonard Mlodinow).

Development of Space Organisations As part of its response to the first Sputnik launches, the United States government debated how best to organize itself for its space activities. At the time, the military services, particularly the air force and the army, hoped that they would have a leading role in space. As an alternative to this rivalry between the services, President Eisenhower in February 1958 created within the Department of Defense the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, later the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA]) and assigned it responsibility for all U.S. space projects. Soon afterward, he decided to separate civilian from military space efforts and proposed the creation of a National Aeronautics and Space Administration to manage the civilian segment. After approval by Congress, NASA began operation on October 1, 1958. DARPA was not successful in establishing itself as a military

space agency. By 1960, after the army had been obliged to relinquish control of JPL and Braun’s rocket team to NASA management, the air force had emerged as the leading military service for space. Eisenhower also decided to create a separate organization to manage the secret reconnaissance satellite program. This effort resulted in the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), jointly directed by the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency. The very existence of this organization was kept secret until 1992. The NRO operated the initial Corona program until 1972. It continued to manage the development of successor photointelligence satellite systems of increasing technological sophistication and also developed radar-surveillance and electronic-signals-collection satellites. All were operated under conditions of the highest secrecy.


museum of skies | space exploration

United States

museum of skies | space exploration

After it received its mandate to send Americans to the Moon, NASA grew into a large organization. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., it operated 10 field centres established throughout the United States to carry out research and technology development and to manage the various universities and industrial contractors involved in the U.S. civilian space program. At the peak of the Apollo program, NASA had 34,000 employees; by the second decade of the 21st century, this labour force had shrunk to just over 18,000, but NASA remained by far the largest space agency in the world. The air force had no separate organization for space until 1982, when the U.S. Air Force Space Command was created to manage its military space operations, which involved the use of satellites for meteorology, communication, navigation, and early warning of missile attack.


The other U.S. military services soon created similar organizations to administer their smaller space activities. In 1985 these organizations were brought under a unified U.S. Space Command, dominated by the air force, which was responsible for 85 percent of military space activities. Research and development efforts related to military space programs were managed by various government laboratories and carried out primarily by American industry.

Soviet Union

After 1965 the government’s Ministry of General Machine Building was assigned responsibility for managing

all Soviet space and missile programs; the Ministry of Defense was also quite influential in shaping space efforts. A separate military branch, the Strategic Missile Forces, was in charge of space launchers and strategic missiles. Various institutes of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, particularly the Institute for Space Research (IKI), proposed and managed scientific missions. Only after the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. did Russia create a civilian organization for space activities. Formed in February 1992, the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) has acted as a central focus for the country’s space policy and programs. Although it began as a small organization that dealt with international contacts and the setting of space policies, it quickly took on increasing responsibility for the management of nonmilitary space activities.


museum of skies | space exploration

In contrast to the United States, the Soviet Union had no separate publicly acknowledged civilian space agency. For 35 years after Sputnik, various design bureaus—state-controlled organizations that actually conceived and developed aircraft and space systems—had great influence within the Soviet system. (For information on the history of specific Soviet aerospace design bureaus, see Energia, MiG, Sukhoy, and Tupolev.) Rivalry between those bureaus and their heads, who were known as chief designers, was a constant reality and posed an obstacle to a coherent Soviet space program. Space policy decisions were made by the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party as well as the Soviet government’s Council of Ministers.

museum of skies | space exploration

Europe In 1961, within four years of the launch of the first U.S. and Soviet satellites, the government of France created the French Space Agency (CNES), which grew to become the largest national organization of its kind in Europe. Gradually other European countries formed government or government-sponsored organizations for space, among them the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the U.K. Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency (ASI). Still others included space as par t of their science or technology ministries.

Whereas ESRO was successful in mounting a series of science missions, many in collaboration with NASA, ELDO failed in attempts to design and launch a European rocket. In 1975 a new European Space Agency (ESA) was formed from ESRO and ELDO to carry out both of their tasks. As of 2012, ESA had 20 member states— Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

In 1964 a European Space Research Organisation (ESRO), created at the initiative of European scientists to pool government resources in suppor t of space science, began operations. Ten western European countries and Australia joined the organization. In the same year, a parallel European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO), which had seven European member states, was established to develop a space launch vehicle for Europe.

With a budget that made it the world’s second largest civilian space agency, ESA carried out a comprehensive program in space science, applications, and infrastructure development. In particular, the Ariane series of expendable launch vehicles was developed under ESA auspices, with France taking the leading role. These launchers proved to be extremely reliable, and they gave Europe independent access to space and a leading position in the commercial space launch industry.


Asia military use. In 1993 an independent Chinese Aerospace Corporation, later known as the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, was established to oversee most Chinese space-equipment manufacturers, and the China National Space Administration was established to manage national space activities.

China initiated its own human spaceflight program in 1992. The spacecraft, called Shenzhou, that it developed for the effort was modeled on Russia’s timetested Soyuz design, but it relied heavily on Chinese-developed technologies and manufacturing. Following four years of unmanned spacecraft tests, China launched its first indigenous astronaut, air force pilot Yang Liwei, into orbit on October 15, 2003. In so doing, it became the third country—after the former China’s space program evolved largely Soviet Union and the United States— in secret, under the joint control of the to achieve human spaceflight. China has Chinese military and the Commission on followed its initial human space flight Science, Technology, and Industry for the with the step-by-step development of National Defense. Its space development capabilities such as space walking and has concentrated on applications such operating a space laboratory (Tiangong) as communications satellites and Earththat are required for human operations observation satellites for civilian and in low Earth orbit.


museum of skies | space exploration

In Japan the University of Tokyo created an Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) in 1964. This small group undertook the development of scientific spacecraft and the vehicles needed to launch them, and it launched Japan’s first satellite, Ōsumi, in 1970. In 1969 the Japanese government founded a National Space Development Agency (NASDA), which subsequently undertook a comprehensive program of space technology and satellite development and built a large launch vehicle for those satellites. In 2001 both ISAS and NASDA came under the control of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. In 2003 ISAS, NASDA, and the National Aerospace Laboratory were merged into a new organization, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Space Exploration Timeline 1840: First clear telescopic photograph of another world: The Moon.

1926: Goddard launches the first liquid-fuelled rocket

1957: Sputnik - The USSR launches Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite to orbit the world

In November, the Russian space dog Laika became the first animal to orbit the earth travelling on Sputnik 2. Her name means “Barker� in Russian, and her mission helped scientists understand whether people could survive in space.


1962: Aboard the Friendship 7, John Glenn is the first American to orbit the Earth

1963: The first woman in space was Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova. 1961: Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human in space

1965: NASA’s Mariner 4 conducts the first flyby throught Mars

1969: Neil Armstrong becomes the first human to walk on the moon

1971: Russia’s Salyut 1, the world’s first station, is launched from an unmanned rocket

1977: America’s Voyager 1 and 2 deep space probes are launched

1986: The MIR space station was built in sections, each piece launched by a rocket and then joined together in orbit. Construction started in 1986, with the last piece being fitted ten years later

1981: The U.S. space shuttle era begins with the flight of Columbia

1990: The Hubble Space Telescope is deployed in Earth orbit by the space shuttle Discovery

1995:The U.S. space shuttle Atlantis docks to the Russian space station MIR for a joint effort

1998: The International Space Station (ISS) is established. In 2000 the first permanent crew moved into the ISS, where crews of astronauts have been living ever since. It is a huge space station for research and space exploration that began construction in 1986, with the final major module arriving in 2010

2011: The U.S. Messenger mission to Mercury, launched in 2004, finally begins its yearlong orbit of that planet

2015: Last original encounter with one of the nine major planets recognized in 1981, in this case, Pluto. Now it is known as a dwarf planet.

2030: The U.S. National Space Policy of 2010 set out goals for space exploration; to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and to the planet Mars in the 2030s.

Picture bibliography Page 6: Valladares, Nathalia. “Inverness Sky”. 2016. JPEG. Pages 12 to 14: Unknown authors.Various titles. UCAR: Center for science education.Accessed on 10 April 2016. Page 14: Valladares, Nathalia. “Bratislava Fog” and “Viena Contrails”. 2015. JPEG. Page 16: Unknown author. Unknown title. Free HD photos. Accessed on 10 April 2016. Page 18: Unknown author. Unknown title. Fatos Desconhecidos. Accessed on 10 of April 2016. Page 20: Brady, Matthew. “The Union Army Balloon Intrepid being inflated from the gas generators for the Battle of Fair Oaks”. 1862. Wikipedia. Accessed on 21 April 2016. Page 21: Unknown author. “Packard and the Graf Zeppelin”. 1929. Silodrome. Accessed on 21 April 2016. Page 23: Unknown author. Unknown title. Rede Geek. Accessed on 10 April 2016. Page 24: Illustration. “14-bis side view”. Centennial flight. Accessed on 20 April 2016 Page 27: Unknown author. “Wilbur Wright, American pioneer in aviation, and Paul Zens, famous French flier, preparing for two man flight in Le Mans, France”. 1908. Time. Accessed on 15 of April 2016. Page 28: Unknown author. Unknown title. BBC iWonder. Accessed on 21 April 2016. Page 60: Unknown author. Unknown title. STEM works. Accessed on 21 April 2016. Page 65: Unknown author. “Robert Goddard shows off one of his A-series rockets in front of his workship in Roswell, NM, in the mid-1930s.  He gave the Smithsonian a rocket almost identical to this one in 1935.” National Air and Space Museum: An Autobiography. National Air and Space Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Accessed on 15 April 2016. Page 66: Unknown author. Unknown title. Famous people. Accessed on 20 April 2016. Page 69: Unknown author. Unknown title. European Space Agency. Accessed on 20 April 2016.


This book was composed using Garamond and Gill Sans type families and printed on matte uncoated paper 120g/m2

Museum of skies