Christa McAuliffe was a civilian teacher and payload specialist who died in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger on Jan. 28, 1986. McAuliffe was selected for the position as part of NASA's Teacher in Space program and would have given video lessons from orbit. A faulty O-ring in one of the shuttle's solid rocket boosters failed shortly after liftoff, destroying the shuttle and killing its crew.Know More
Before becoming an astronaut, McAuliffe had been a middle and high school teacher for 15 years. In order to inspire students to learn more about math and science, President Ronald Reagan initiated a program in 1984 that would select a teacher to fly into space on the shuttle. McAuliffe was selected and underwent astronaut training in 1985 for her flight.
On the morning of Jan. 28, 1986, the extremely cold temperatures at the shuttle launch pad damaged the rubber O-rings that protected the solid rocket boosters during the flight. When the shuttle lifted off, hot gases were able to escape from the damaged joint in the rocket, burning through the external fuel tank and igniting the fuel within. The space shuttle exploded 73 seconds after launch, completely destroying the vehicle. There were no survivors.Learn more about Space Travel
Some scientists posit that warp speed travel is possible, but as of 2015 the technology is still highly theoretical and would require years of extensive research and development to become a reality. Even after the technology is developed, it would need to be thoroughly tested.Full Answer >
Mars rovers have uncovered a variety of different things on the red planet, including geographical features such as dried up lake beds, patches of salt crystals believed to be former sites of salt water bodies and multiple soil samples that were analyzed on site. There have been several rovers sent to Mars since the first attempt in the 1970s, though only a few of these rovers, including the United States Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity rovers, have actually been able to successfully collect useful data.Full Answer >
Like most space endeavors, Sputnik 1 was a team effort. However, Mikhail Khomyakov is typically credited with doing most of the design work on Sputnik 1.Full Answer >
Space smells like a combination of diesel fumes, barbecue and hot metal. The smell is the result of dying stars that release compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These compounds are in space dust, comets and meteors.Full Answer >