While humans have sent thousands of objects outside of Earth's atmosphere, there are a few objects that stand apart from the rest. Whether they are remarkable in terms of technology, appearance or the concept behind them, the following are our top picks of the coolest space technology mankind has created:
FAST, or the Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope, is a massive telescope that was constructed in Guizhou, China in 2016. Made of nearly 5000 triangular panels and constructed inside a natural depression in the land, it is an absolutely jaw-dropping piece of engineering. Each of the panels can be tilted using a computer, to shift the focus of the telescope.
As a radio telescope, it has the ability to detect pulsars at distances of 4000 lightyears and extraterrestrial communication at distances up to about 16 lightyears. It can also be used to track spacecraft travelling to Mars, when those spaceflights begin to take place. Nearly twice as big as the next largest telescope, scientists are still learning the capabilities of FAST. Who knows what else it may discover?
One of the most poetic things humans have ever created, are the Voyager Golden Records. Attached to Voyager 1 and 2, space probes launched in 1977, the records are meant to communicate the origin of the space probes to any extraterrestrials who might encounter them.
The records contain audio featuring spoken greetings in 55 languages, sounds of Earth including thunder, wind, machinery, animals, heartbeats, laughter, and a mother and child, as well as music from all over the world. It also has an hour long recording of brain waves and 116 images of science, human life, and the planet.
Now the most distant man made objects from Earth, Voyager 1 and 2 will continue through the Milky Way forever, a message in a bottle waiting to be found.
Truly one of the most amazing things humans have created, the Hubble telescope allows mankind to see further and deeper into the universe than ever before. As it is situated above the atmosphere of Earth, it has a vew of the universe that “far surpasses that of ground based telescopes”. The information it has provided has been integral to thousands of important discoveries about the universe.
Floating 353 miles above the surface of the earth, the Hubble telescope observes space and time in a way that humans have previously only dreamt about.
Two gigantic satellites, intended to assist in geodynamical studies of the Earth (what Earth is made of and how it changes over time), they are especially remarkable for their appearance. Like gigantic metallic golf balls, they are covered in prisms meant to reflect laser beams back to their source.
Using the LAGEOS satellite, scientists have proven that Earth drags time and space around itself. The satellites also assist scientists in providing a reference system for climate change. Still incredibly precise, 42 years after launch, the satellites are designed to be permanent additions to the Earth’s orbit, and even contain a plaque designed by Carl Sagan, in case any extraterrestrials happen upon it in the next 8.4 million years.
While the technology contained in Falcon 9 is not terribly revolutionary compared to any other rocket, it is the first time that a commercial space ship has rendezvoused with the International Space Station. It represents the future of spaceflight- where commercial space flights are not only possible, but commonplace. Within the next decade, there will be crewed missions to the Moon and Mars, as well as possible colonization. Being a space tourist is a reality of the near future.
What do you think the most amazing space technology is? Let us know in the comments!
Wondering where the best places to check out the heavens here on Earth are? Check out our roundup of the best places to stargaze here.
Banner Image Credit:
IRAC Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA/ESA/STScI Visible Light Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA/DSS
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