In the 1960s, there was a “space race” that had space scientists racing to see which country would make the greatest strides in space discovery first. The Soviet Union is credited with starting the race when they launched Sputnik (a satellite) into space. The United States then responded by sending a human into space and then to the moon.
It’s now 2017 and it seems like space race 2.0 is beginning to take shape. Countries like the United States, China, and India have their eyes on Mars. It was just a few months ago when Elon Musk (you know, that guy who started that little known electric car company called Tesla and that space travel and exploration company called SpaceX) announced that he would send people (yes, people like us!) to Mars. China, considered one of the latecomers to space exploration, has made up for lost time. In a recent announcement, China said its goal is to begin exploring Mars by 2020. India is working on innovative and less expensive methods of space exploration and hopes to send a spacecraft to Mars for about a tenth of the cost of what the United States is spending. Who will “win” space race 2.0? We’ll just have to wait and see!
Interesting Fact: Launching satellites and rockets helps us learn about outer space, but one side effect of launching these things is space garbage. NASA and the United States Air Force have identified more than 500,000 pieces of space junk floating around in outer space.