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SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (0)

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  • Missions landed on the Moon ?
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SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY


A century ago communication across any distance was dependent upon the telegraph or letters . No jets crossed the ocean , no television pictures enabled us instantly to see events in any part of the world, there were no worldwide telephone networks and no computers . It is just a short lifetime since humanity first travelled into space and discovered how fragile our planet looks .
FROM FIREWORKS TO THE MOON
At first glance you might think that there couldn’t possibly be anything common between a 13th century festival in China and the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. However , there is a link and that is that they both relied on the use of rockets.
The Chinese first developed rockets by filling bamboo tubes with an explosive made from saltpetre, charcoal , and sulphur . The sealed tubes would be thrown onto fires during celebrations because it was thought that the loud explosions would protect them . It was not long before the ancient Chinese realised the military potential of these devices and primitive rockets were used to repel a Mongol invasion in 1232 AD. Word of these new amazing weapons quickly spread around the world and soon rockets were being used in military operations in North Africa and Europe . During the 15th and 16th centuries they were widely used in naval battles to set fire on enemy ships. Around this time they also started being used for more peaceful purposes again. In the 16th and 17th century Europe fireworks displays using rockets became a very popular form of public entertainment.
In the late 18th century the British army suffered two serious defeats at battles in Seringapatam, in India. The main reason for these defeats was that the Indian prince, Haidar Ali’s army included a corps of rocket throwers. They used very large bamboo rockets which had a range of hundreds of metres . The British were determined to learn from their mistakes and a British officer, William Congrieve, began work on developing even bigger and better rockets. Within a few years Congrieve had developed 14 kg iron rockets that could be fired over 3200 m. These rockets were successfully used against Napoleon in the battle of Waterloo and during the US War of Independence.
By the 1889s other applications for rockets were being developed. They were used for signalling, for whaling, and even for rescuing people from sinking ships. If a boat got into trouble near to the shore , a rocket with a thin rope tied to it would be fired out over the boat; survivors in lifeboats could use the ropes to pull themselves ashore. These traditional rockets are still used as distress signals on boats and planes .
However, in the 1920s and 30s a great leap forward in the use of rockets took place with the introduction of liquid fuel. This made rockets much more powerful . The new rockets were so impressive that for the first time people began to seriously think about using rockets to take people to space.
The development of the space rockets took place during World War II. It was the Germans who built the first really big rockets, as a way of bombing Britain without needing to use aircraft. First the V1 was built and then later the V2 - a more powerful rocket which was able to carry a large warhead of explosives to Britain.
After the war, the Soviet Union and the United States took German rocket technology back to their countries. The main motive was to build rockets to launch nuclear missiles. The idea of using military rockets to launch a satellite was really an afterthought.
In the 1950s the Soviet Union and the USA invested large amounts of money in their new space programmes. On 4 October 1957, an announcement by the Soviet Union took the world by surprise. ‘ Sputnik ’, the first artificial satellite, which literally meanstravelling companion“ had been launched and was in orbit around the Earth. ‘Sputnik’ was small, no bigger in fact than a football , and compared to today 's
technology, it was very primitive. All it could do was to bleep. But its impact was enormous. After its launch, things began to happen quickly. Less than a month later it was followed by ‘Sputnik 2’ which carried a dog Laika into orbit. The USA sent its first satellite, ‘ Explorer 1’, into space early the next year . The next step, putting a man in space followed in 1961 when the Russian pilot called Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth in ‘ Vostok 1’. In 1961, President Kennedy announced that America would begin a programme to put a man on the Moon.
Use the Internet to get answers to the following questions:
  • When did the first man take the first steps on the Moon? What was the name of the first man on the Moon and what did he say? Was he walking on the Moon alone ?
  • How many Apollo missions were registered? What number mission was the first/last to land on the Moon? How many Apollo missions landed on the Moon?
  • What do you know about the following people: Harrison Schmitt; Alan Shephard; Eugene Cernan?
  • Which invention enabled the people on the Moon to travel long distances?
  • Have the Russians walked on the Moon?
    Though the exploration of Mars has taken place over hundreds of years, it began in earnest with the invention and development of the telescope in the 1600s. Increasingly detailed views of the planet from the Earth inspired speculation about its environment and possible life, even intelligent civilizations that might be found there. Probes sent from Earth beginning in the late 20th century have dramatically increased the knowledge of the Martian system. Engineering interplanetary journeys is very complicated, so roughly two thirds of all spacecraft destined for Mars failed before completing their missions. But since 6 August 2012, there have been two scientific rovers on the surface of Mars beaming signals back to earth, and three orbiters currently surveying the planet. Mars is the only planet we know of that can currently feasibly support human
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