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 of the disadvantages of space travel include NASA spending money on projects when it is not aware how much commercial investment it can rely on, there are risks to human safety with each mission and certain orbits are very slow. In addition, changes to space travel funding may make it difficult for students to become astronauts.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 >
Weightlessness is a theoretical state where a body exists uninfluenced by any gravitational forces. In fact, even at great distances, large astronomical bodies such as planets and stars continue to exert gravitational influence, but if the distance is great enough, that influence becomes negligible. The directions of up and down are defined by the pull of gravity. With no up or down, a body floats.Full Answer >
Humans have never been to Mars. Humans have set foot on the moon, orbited the earth and lived aboard space stations for extended periods, but have not yet visited any other planets.Full Answer >