Do you know what we call a person who travels to space? The answer is an astronaut. This term derives from the Greek words for “star” and “sailor”, and is commonly used to refer to individuals from the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan who have ventured into outer space. In Russia, the word cosmonaut is used for space travelers from all nations. In the West, Chinese space travelers are known as taikonauts (from the Chinese word for “space” and from the Greek word for “sailor”), while in China they are referred to as yuhangyuan (from the Chinese words for “space” and “traveler”).The first American astronaut was Alan Shepard, who reached space on May 5, 1961, in a 15-minute sub-orbital flight aboard Freedom 7.The farthest distance an astronaut has traveled to Earth was 401,056 km (249,205 miles), when Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise went around the Moon during the Apollo 13 emergency. With the rise of space tourism, NASA and the Russian Federal Space Agency agreed to use the term spaceflight participant to distinguish space travelers from professional astronauts on missions coordinated by those two agencies.
This term may have been inspired by aeronaut, an old term for an air traveler that was first applied in 1784 to balloon pilots. Scientists still know little about the effects of space flight on the structure of the brain. However, one study showed that space travel can lead to new motor skills (dexterity), but also to slightly weaker vision, which could be long-lasting. Do you have any questions about the U. S. Space & Rocket Center museum, exhibits, or simulators? If so, feel free to reach out and ask!.