Carl Sagan

Pale Blue Dot:

A Vision of the Human Future in Space

For Sam

Another wanderer,

May your generation see

Wonders undreamt.

Spacecraft Exploration of the Solar System.

Notable Early Achievements

United States

1958 First scientific discovery in space-Van Allen radiation belt (Explorer 1)

1959 First television images of the Earth from space (Explorer 6)

1962 First scientific discovery in interplanetary space -direct observation of the solar wind (Mariner 2)

1962 First scientifically successful planetary mission (Mariner 2 to Venus)

1962 First astronomical observatory in space (OSO-1)

1968 First manned orbit of another world (Apollo 8 to the Moon)

1969 First landing of humans on another world (Apollo 11 to the Moon)

1969 First samples returned to Earth from another world (Apollo 11 to the Moon)

1971 First manned roving vehicle on another world (Apollo 15 to the Moon)

1971 First spacecraft to orbit another planet (Mariner 9 to Mars)

1973 First flyby of Jupiter (Pioneer 10)

1974 First dual-planet mission (Mariner 10 to Venus and Mercury)

1974 First flyby of Mercury (Mariner 10)

1976 First successful Mars landing; first spacecraft to search for life on another planet (Viking 1)

1977 First flybys of Saturn (Pioneer 11)

1981 First manned reusable spacecraft (STS-1)

1980 First satellite to be retrieved, repaired, 1984 and redeployed in space (Solar Maximum Mission)

1985 First distant cometary encounter (International Cometary Explorer to Comet Giacobini-Zimmer)

1986 First flyby of Uranus (Voyager 2)

1989 First flyby of Neptune (Voyager 2)

1992 First detection of the heliopause (Voyager)

1992 First encounter with a main-belt asteroid (Galileo to Gaspra)

1994 First detection of a moon of an asteroid (Galileo to Ida)

Soviet Union/Russia

1957 First artificial satellite of the Earth (Sputnik 1)

1957 First animal in space (Sputnik 2)

1959 First spacecraft to escape the Earth’s gravity (Luna 1)

1959 First artificial planet of the Sun (Luna 1)

1959 First spacecraft to impact another world (Luna 2 to the Moon)

1959 First view of the far side of the moon (Luna 3)

1961 First human in space (Vostok 1)

1961 First human to orbit the Earth (Vostok 1)

1961 First spacecraft to fly by other planets (Venera 1 to Venus; 1962 Mars 1 to Mars)

1963 First woman in space (Vostok 6)

1964 First multi-person space mission (Voskhod 1)

1965 First space “walk” (Voskhod 2)

1966 First spacecraft to enter the atmosphere of another planet (Venera 3 to Venus)

1966 First spacecraft to orbit another world (Luna 10 to the Moon)

1966 First successful soft landing on another world (Luna 9 to the Moon)

1970 First robot mission to return a sample from another world (Luna 16 to the Moon)

1970 First roving vehicle on another world (Luna 17 to the Moon)

1971 First soft landing on another planet (Mars 3 to Mars)

1972 First scientifically successful landing on another planet (Venera 8 to Venus)

1980 First approximately year-long manned spaceflight

1981 (comparable to Mars flight time) (Soyuz 35)

1983 First full orbital radar mapping of another planet (Venera 15 to Venus)

1985 First balloon station deployed in the atmosphere of another planet (Vega 1 to Venus)

1986 First close cometary encounter (Vega 1 to Halley’s Comet)

1986 First space station inhabited by rotating crews (Mir)


An Introduction

But tell me, who are they, these wanderers…?

—Rainer Maria Rilke, “The Fifth Elegy” (1923)

We were wanderers from the beginning. We knew every stand of tree for a hundred miles. When the fruits

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