Home >Industry >Age of Exploration: Moon landing to $100 million search for ET

Eagle: Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.

With this message 46 years ago, Neil Armstrong confirmed that humans had landed on the moon for the first time, firing the imagination of everyone on earth. Since then, space agencies have landed probes or conducted flybys on every planet of the solar system, orbited dwarf planets, landed on a comet, set up an international space station, and even sent a coded message across space to elicit response from any intelligent beings out there.

Space exploration has come a long way since the moon landing in 1969, and with Russian billionaire Yuri Milner investing $100 million to search for intelligent extraterrestrials (ET), a project announced by physicist Stephen Hawking, there is clearly much to look forward to. A look at space exploration through decades since the moon landing in 1969:

1970, first landing on a planet: The Soviet spacecraft Venera 7 landed on Venus and transmitted data from there to its earth station. The lander, however, landed hard on the surface of Venus due to a parachute failure and did not transmit data after the first 23 minutes.

1973, Jupiter flyby: National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Pioneer 10 spacecraft flew past the largest planet of the solar system.

1974, Mercury flyby: Mariner 10 spacecraft of the US space agency NASA flew past the smallest planet.

1974, Arecibo Message: As part of the upgrade of the Aracibo Radio Telescope in Puerto Rico, the most powerful broadcast was transmitted into space targeting the star cluster M13. The code consisted of a pictorial message which included a telescope, a human stick figure and the solar system.

1975, pictures of Venus: Venera-9 spacecraft of the Soviet Union transmitted the first images of Venus.

1976, soil samples from Mars: The 1976 Viking mission of NASA conducted the first biological analysis of soil samples from Mars.

1979, Saturn flyby: The spacecraft Pioneer II became the first spacecraft to carry out a Saturn fly-by, eventually discovering a new moon and an F ring.

1986, Uranus flyby: Voyager-2 became the first spacecraft to fly by and study the planet.

1989, Neptune flyby: NASA’s Voyager 2 became the first spacecraft to observe the planet Neptune, 12 years after its launch in 1977.

1990, Hubble Space Telescope: NASA launched the space telescope aboard space shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Since then, the telescope has made more than 1.2 million observations.

1998, International Space Station: The largest man-made object in space, the International Space Station (ISS) was launched as a joint project by Russia, the US, European Union, Japan and Canada.

2011, Messenger: NASA’s Messenger spacecraft entered an orbit around the planet closest to the sun.

2014, Rosetta: The European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission successfully soft-landed its Philae probe on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, making it the first such landing on a comet.

2015, Pluto flyby: After its launch in 2005, the New Horizons spacecraft finally conducted a fly-past of Pluto, now a dwarf planet, and sent several photos of its icy mountains and plains.

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