Space exploration has been discussed since the US and Soviets raced off of our planet in the 1950s. At the time we had no idea what to expect beyond our known world, an infinite frontier was beyond us. Fast forward through the years and countless discoveries, the same question is being asked now that was being asked 60 years ago: is space exploration worth the cost? This question has sparked many discussions, debates, and introduced many interpretations of itself, specifically the interpretation of the word 'cost'. Some interpret this as a reference to money, while others are more concerned about the cost of human life. Space exploration is worth the cost both monetarily and in terms of putting human lives at risk, because it can help us understand what is beyond Earth, provide us with reasons of why and how we got here, and could lead to infinite resources. .
In 1957 the Soviet Union kicked off the Space Race by launching the very first satellite, Sputnik 1, into orbit. One year later the United States responded by launching Explorer 1, the first successful US satellite. According to National Geographic's Space Exploration timeline this was extremely important as it led to "the first great scientific discovery of the space age" by using new technology to discover radiation belts surrounding our planet. In 1961, three years after the launch of Explorer 1, the Soviet Union entered a league of their own by successfully putting a human being in space. Yuri A. Gagarin orbited the Earth and returned safely, becoming a national hero and serving as proof that man is not confined to our Earth. Less than nine years later the National Aeronautics and Space Agency, or NASA, launched Apollo 11, the first successful attempt to put a man on the moon. As a result of these scientific breakthroughs we now know more about what is beyond us and can continue to explore into the depth of space.