NASA’s 10 Greatest Achievements of All Time
Since the inception of NASA in 1958, their goals and objectives have always been monumental. They planned to expand overall human knowledge of space, maintain the lead in space technological innovation, design vehicles that could carry both living organisms and state of the art equipment into space and collaborate with international space agencies in order to produce the greatest scientific advancements.
In the last 50 years, NASA has in fact achieved all of these goals. NASA continues to search for answers to the mysteries of science as it continues to evolve among the ever changing world we live in. All of the hard work NASA does benefits all of mankind, their enormous budget is spent here on Earth, supporting the economy and creating spin-off technologies that greatly improve our quality of life.
Here is our list of NASA’s 10 greatest achievements.
10 EXPLORER 1
Explorer 1 was the first ever US satellite and was launched on January 31, 1958 roughly a year after the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1 and 2 launched, which as a result was the beginning of the Cold War Space Race between the two nations. Explorer 1 was the first spacecraft to discover the Van Allen radiation belt, by returning data it collected over the course of four months. The discovery of the radiation belts is credited to NASA scientist James Van Allen due to his findings by using his Geiger-Muller tube on satellites, Explorer 1, Explorer 3, and Pioneer 3. Explorer 1 remained in orbit until 1970 and has since been followed by over 90 scientific spacecraft in the Explorer series.
Kepler is a space observatory that NASA launched on March 7, 2009 in the hopes of discovering Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. Kepler’s main instrument is a photometer which frequently watches for the brightness of over 145,000 main sequence stars within a fixed field of view. The data Kepler finds is then transmitted to Earth and analyzed to detect the periodic dimness caused by extrasolar planets, the ones that move in front of their host star.
As of January of 2015, the data collected from Kepler have found 1,013 confirmed exoplanets along with 3,199 unconfirmed potential planet candidates. Three of the confirmed exoplanets were found inside habitable ones of their associated stars. Two of the planets, Kepler-438b and Kepler-442b are close to Earth size and are most likely rocky while another exoplanet discovered named Kepler-440b is actually a super-Earth.