The unmanned NASA mission simply means using robots or animals to explore space rather than using men. This does not mean that men are not involved in the exploration, but it means that men do not accompany robots in the exploration. However, they monitor these robots from NASA offices. This research paper explores the history of unmanned NASA missions, their original goals, and scientific highlights of the missions.
HISTORY OF THE MISSION
The history of unmanned NASA missions dates back to 1958. This was the time the US government decided to counter Soviet Union’s mission after the Soviet Union government launched its first artificial satellite to the earth’s orbit in 1957 (Khosrow-Pour 252). Although the US government may have initiated other missions before this time, this was the critical time in the formulation and development of unmanned missions because the two nations were in the race of showcasing their supremacies in establishing massive programs and developing new weapons. In this respect, the US government countered Soviet Union’s mission by designing the Jupiter-C rocket that became explorer 1 (Gregersen 12). The intention of designing that rocket was to develop mechanisms under which human beings would be sent to space. However, this could not be done without testing the exercise because it was a risky one. Accordingly, it was necessary to develop unmanned missions before developing manned missions.
As it can be seen from the above history, the original goal for the unmanned NASA mission was to test the obligatory spacecraft and procedures that were necessary for preparing for manned missions. Such missions were implemented using robots and animals before manned missions were developed. The intention was to reach the parts of the space that human beings cannot reach. To date, over one thousand unmanned missions have been developed. Each of these missions is developed when there is a specific goal to attain. As a result, although the missions are almost the same scientifically, they are different from each other in terms of goals. For example, although the lunar orbiter program is scientifically the same as the pioneer program the goals for the two are different. On one hand, the goal for lunar orbiters was to explore the moon whereas, on the other hand, the goal for the pioneer program was simply to explore the planet (Gregersen 12).
SCIENTIFIC HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MISSION
From a scientific viewpoint, all unmanned NASA missions can be classified into four groups. The first mission is the orbital mission that focuses its attention on probing the circles of a planet as well as other bodies. Scientifically, this mission explores the earth’s orbit as well as other planets together with other bodies in space. The second mission is the flyby mission that focuses its attention on spacecraft that fly past celestial bodies. The goal of missions in this category is to collect information from space and send it to NASA’s offices. The third mission is the landing mission that focuses its attention on the crafts that land on the moon or planet surfaces with an aim of sending pictures back to the earth or NASA’s offices. The fourth mission in the sample return mission focuses its attention on developing spacecraft that are capable of hovering in space and returning to the earth’s surface with sample pictures from where they land (Gregersen 12). Scientifically speaking, the unmanned mission focuses its attention on collecting information used in scientific researches. Such researches include exploring the orbit and making inferences based on information collected.
Gregersen, Erik. Unmanned Space Missions. New York: Britannica Educational Pub, 2010. Print.
Khosrow-Pour, Mehdi. Cases on Information Technology: Lessons Learned, Volume 7. Hershey: Idea Group, 2006. Print.