Space exploration is the use of spaceships and the knowledge of astronomy to explore beyond the Earth's atmosphere. The Soviet Union and the United States have conducted countless experiments and missions to other heavenly bodies, even launching several spaceships that eventually left the Solar System. The possibility of human life being lost is incalculable and plays an important role in determining whether a space mission should be carried out with or without a crew. The three types of space probes are interplanetary probes, orbiters and landers.
Flyby spacecraft are best suited for quick and simple reconnaissance missions to obtain information and make observations to send them back to Earth. Orbiters enter the gravity of a planet and remain in orbit around it, obtaining more detailed information than could be obtained by a spaceship flying overhead. Landers are spacecraft that are designed to land on a planet or moon and collect data from its surface. The Soviet Union achieved an important milestone in 1961, when Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel to space when he orbited the Earth in the Vostok 1 capsule.
This dramatically increased the stakes in the space race and ushered in the period with the most progress in space flight in human history. The Soviet Vostok program carried out six subsequent manned space flights, including Vostok 6, piloted by Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space. Space exploration is also responsible for other scientific advances that are not related to space itself. Many medical experiments conducted under the conditions of space have helped doctors to better understand the human body.
Space exploration also provides valuable scientific discoveries and leads to advances in technology that are applicable to life on Earth, such as meteorology and telecommunications. Apollo 13, the space shuttle Columbia and Soyuz 11 suffered catastrophic accidents during re-entry, and the last two caused the death of all crew members. One of the benefits of space exploration is to satisfy the natural curiosity that human beings have had throughout history, to awaken interest in science around the world and to be a unifying force among nations.