The universe is nearly 14 billion years old. Human existence makes up a tiny fraction of that time. If the history of Earth was made up of 24 hours, humans came into the picture just before 11:59 p.m.—and we've spent much of that time fascinated with space.
For so long, we have posited theories and done our best to reach the most distant corners of the universe. Sixteenth-century Mesopotamians envisioned space as a cosmic ocean. While under the reign of the Roman Empire, Ptolemy theorized a geocentric universe. In 2015, new evidence emerged supporting the existence of water on Mars, and more recently, space tourism has been a hot topic of conversation. People at all points in history have had ideas about what lies beyond the sky and have wanted both to understand and see it for themselves.
In honor of World Space Week, Stacker curated a gallery of groundbreaking NASA missions.
In the modern world, NASA is at the forefront of space exploration, making knowledge of the great unknown even more possible. Founded in 1958 and headquartered in Washington D.C., NASA quickly changed the course of both robotic and human spaceflight. Since its creation, the agency has put people on the moon, created new windows into viewing the universe, and discovered extrasolar planets, among other things. And as it turns out, the people doing all this incredible work are a little more down-to-Earth than the general public may believe. While some might be geniuses, they're also simply curious human beings.
The forthcoming images depict some of NASA's most profound achievements and capture these missions in a way that is at once visually profound and scientifically meaningful. Read on to learn about some of the most incredible moments and missions in NASA history.
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