Five interesting facts about space travel
The first time man ventured into space was in
1961. The Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s first flight to space
involved just one orbit of our planet before he returned to Earth’s
surface in his Vostok 1 spacecraft. And if you’re wondering what the
difference is between a cosmonaut and an astronaut, Well, cosmonauts are
people trained and certified by the Russian Space Agency to work in
space. Astronauts are people trained and certified to work in space by
NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency), CSA (The Canadian Space Agency),
or JAXA (The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency).
Spending a long time in space can affect the human body in a negative
way. The mass of bones and muscle tissue decrease, and this means that
when an astronaut returns to earth, he or she may have trouble standing
for a period of time.
Who’s been in space the longest? Well, the Russian Valeri Polyakov
currently holds the record for the most time spent in space on one
single mission. He was up there among the stars for 437 days on the Mir
space station from 1994 to 1995.
How fast do space rockets go? The highest speed ever reached by humans
was by the crew of Apollo 10. Their capsule of Apollo 10 reached 39,897
kilometres per hour when they were on their way back from the Moon in
1969. But the fastest unmanned flight so far has been the Parker Solar
Probe which reached a speed of 466,592 km/h relative to the sun. This
was on 27 September 2020.
Of course, we’ve sent spacecraft a lot further from the earth than the
moon since 1969. The Voyager 1 spacecraft is currently the farthest from
Earth. At about 150 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun, and it
takes more than 40 hours to send a command and get a response back.
That’s still faster than getting an email reply from my internet
provider. Voyager 1 is currently over 21 billion kilometres from Earth.
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