One feature that a superpower has is its space exploration capability. The top nations in the world have a capable space agency that handles space, exploration, and other possible applications. Countries like China, South Korea, France, Japan, Germany, Israel, India, Italy, etc. all have excellent space programs.
The United States of America, however, is the leading country when it comes to space exploration. In the earlier years, post World War II, another race was in place. Instead of a strong arms race, two nations competed in the Space Race. The United States and the Soviet Union were the two countries going head to head to see who was going to be dominant in the space race.
Although the Soviet Union has had its fair share of successful launches, the United States ended up being the first country to send a man on the moon. The US, however, wasn’t able to accomplish this feat without its space agency, NASA. NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA is the agency responsible for the US’s space exploration programs, which includes research, training, and development.
Ever since Apollo 11 landed on the Moon on July 20, 1969, NASA has been a popular name all over the world. When one thinks of the horizon above us, NASA comes into mind. Due to its popularity, NASA has several theme parks and other entertainment outlets. With that said, here are some cool NASA facts that you should know about.
President Woodrow Wilson was the one who initiated the space program of the United States. He started NACA or the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. This agency would then be named to NASA. This name change is one of the most important NASA facts that most people should know about.
The First Woman to Walk in Space
Aside from sending the first man on the moon, NASA is also responsible for letting the first woman walk in space. Although the Russians were officially the first to send women to space, the US was the first to let a woman walk in space.
On October 11, 1984, Katherine Sullivan made the first big leap for women worldwide as she became the first-ever woman to walk in outer space. Sullivan, along with Dave Leestema were conducting studies about efficient refueling methods while in space.
In Russia, people who are sent on space missions are called Cosmonauts. In China, they call them Taikonauts. For countries such as the US, Japan, and other European countries, they call them astronauts. No matter what they’re called, these people are a cut above the rest.
NASA trains and produces some of the world’s best astronauts. The basic qualifications of being an astronaut isn’t a laughing matter. Most people wouldn’t qualify right off the bat. Astronauts are comparable to elite athletes and special forces soldiers.
Granted that you meet the physical requirements, you’re subject to a battery of tests that would make the toughest human being cry. Not only that, but you also have to undergo several years of studying and training.
Famous NASA Astronauts
Astronauts, wherever they are, are treated as heroes and rockstars. Some famous NASA astronauts are:
- Alan B. Shepard Jr – The First American to go into space
- Neil Armstrong – The most popular, the first man to walk on the moon
- Buzz Aldrin – Second man to walk on the moon
- Sally Ride – The First American women to go to space
- John Glenn Jr – The first American to orbit the earth
NASA Was the First to Take a Photo of a Black Hole
One of the biggest mysteries of the cosmos is a Black Hole. By definition, a black hole is a void in space where gravity is so strong; nothing escapes it. Due to its strong gravitational forces, not even light can escape a black hole. Black holes often happen when a star is dying.
Since light can’t be seen from a black hole, no one knows what a black hole really looks like. The ones we see in movies are fictional and are often products of imagination. However, on April 10, 2019, NASA was able to do the impossible: Photograph a real black hole.
NASA was able to get a photo of a black hole through the EHT or Event Horizon Telescope. If you’re curious about what a real black hole looks like, imagine the Tower of Mordor from the Lord of the Rings.
When it comes to space programs, no other country comes close to the US. NASA, the USA’s space agency, is the leading space agency all over the world. It’s no wonder why people know famous astronauts such as Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong. The facts mentioned above are just a few things you should know about NASA.