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Space X launch a car into space - What every school aged child needs to know

8th Feb 2018

SpaceX is an American based company that designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecrafts.

On Tuesday, Feb. 6th at 8.45pm The Falcon Heavy rocket successfully lifted off from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Falcon Heavy is the most powerful operational rocket in the world.

Elon Musk owns the company and his dream is to send people to Mars. But we do not have the technology to get us there - Yet!

So Space X is developing and testing rockets to make this happen. So what happened on Tuesday?  

Space X sent the Falcon Heavy Rocket into space, but this was no ordinary test rocket. Most new rockets carry concrete or steel blocks on test flights to simulate the weight of a real payload, but Elon Musk thought this was boring, so instead he polished up his sports car, a cherry red Tesla Roadster, dressed a mannequin in a space suit, placed it in the drivers seat and had his team of engineers pack it all up in the pay load dock of his rocket. Approximately 5 minutes after lift off the Tesla was released and is now floating around in Space. (see photos & video, full video lasts 30 mins, for launch go to 22 mins for lift off)

What makes Space X rockets different ? Quite simply, the 2 booster rockets which propelled the Tesla into space do not crash land after separating from the core (middle section with Tesla) , instead they land back on earth, think Iron man style - (see video link go to 29mins, 50secs for dual rocket landing)

The pictures of the Tesla & mannequin astronaut flying through space and past Earth are REAL photos! This is actually happening!

So where do we go from here? Well hopefully to Mars! That's the goal.

Why do we need to go to space?

Importance of Human Space Exploration Programs

Hundreds of missions have been launched till date to explore extraterrestrial bodies from the Moon to Mars and the very periphery of our solar system. From every one of them, mankind has learned something more about the kind of universe we inhabit in and what lies beyond the comfortable cocoon of planet Earth. Here are the prime factors which underline the need and importance of space exploration.

Understanding Our Solar System & its Formation
Through space exploration of planets including Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and other planets, we have gathered a wealth of data that has helped scientists unravel the mystery of the formation of our solar system and the question of why life only emerged on Earth. Recent space exploration missions have finally put to rest all imaginative ideas of life on Mars, while confirming the finding of water on the red planet. The knowledge of our solar system's structure, nature of planets and their gravitational dynamics can be taken as a template, which helps us in identifying extrasolar planets revolving around other stars, that may be harboring life.

Exploring Planets as Potential Future Habitable Worlds
One motive behind the exploration of planets including Mars and Moon in particular is their study as potential future habitable worlds. To develop technologies which will enable mankind to settle into these hostile worlds, the knowledge of their material resources, atmosphere, composition and surface conditions is essential.

Technological Spin-offs
Space exploration poses challenges to the human mind, like never before and the leap of genius required to accomplish the goal of a space flight, has led to the development of several technological spin-offs, which make our life on Earth simpler and more comfortable. Examples of technological spin-offs that have emerged from space exploration research include solar cells, artificial limbs, water purifiers that can provide clean water from contaminated sources, memory foam, strong radial tires, air-craft anti-icing systems, cochlear implants, space blankets and many more such inventions. The wealth of technologies that have emerged as spin-offs, out of space exploration research, justify the investment made in space research.

Mineral Exploration
One of the prime reasons for exploration of Moon and planets like Mars is the mapping of extraterrestrial worlds for minerals. In the future, as humankind exhausts the planet's store of minerals, we will have to look elsewhere for them. Our space exploration data of these world's will come in handy in the future, when we develop technologies that can actually make mining these worlds possible.

Studying of Asteroids as Potential Threats
Space exploration also involves the study of the asteroid belt, which contains thousands of asteroids that are potential threats for planet Earth. Large asteroid impacts have happened on Earth before, causing mass extinctions and there is a looming future possibility of another such collision. Ergo, studying these asteroids is an important task, that is a part of space exploration. From the composition of these small planetoids, a lot of data can be gathered, which can help us understand the formation of our solar system.

Future Space Colonization
All space exploration efforts, including the building of International Space Station (ISS) are going to help contribute to future colonization of extraterrestrial worlds like the Moon and Mars. Through experiments aboard the ISS, we are learning what life in a zero gravity environment is like. The findings of these experiments will go a long way in helping devise strategies for long distance manned space flights in the future.

At some point of time in the future, moving out of planet Earth and colonizing other worlds may not be a choice, but an inevitability and our space exploration projects help us prepare for that future mission. It is a contribution we make for the betterment of future generations. More than all these reasons, a simple motive that justifies our space exploration is the need to 'Know', to know what's beyond, know what's possible and know who we are and where we come from!