SP-168 EXPLORING SPACE WITH A CAMERA

 

FOREWORD

 

[v] DOWN THROUGH HISTORY IN NO DECADE has man acquired such far-ranging new concepts of motion and its role in the universe, and so much new knowledge about his own planet, its natural satellite, the Moon, and its sister planets, Mars and Venus, as in the ten years just passed. This new knowledge feeds new processes of thought and new understanding of many scientific disciplines and broad categories of technology.

From positions in space and from machines in rapid motion, we have measured the Earth's weather phenomena and atmospheric dynamics; we have fixed the precise locations of mountains in Antarctica and lakes in Peru. We have mapped the Moon in detail and have made our first analyses of its composition. We have discovered and measured the Earth's trapped radiation belts and explored many facets of the solar wind. We have learned to use rockets to send instruments to measure the temperatures of Venus and to photograph the surface of Mars.

These ten years have often been likened to that period of the 15th century when man learned to traverse the oceans and use them to explore our planet Earth. But the pace of space exploration is faster and the implications for man's intellectual and physical development are more far-reaching.

In 1965 the Committee on Science and Astronautics of the U. S. House of Representatives published a report made by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to President Johnson which summarized future opportunities opening up in aeronautics and in space. The following is quoted from that report:

Down through the course of history, the mastery of a new environment, or of a major new technology, or of the combination of the two as we now see in space, has had profound effects on the future of nations; on their relative strength and security; on the relations with one another; on their internal economic, social, and political affairs; and on the concepts of reality held by their people.

 

The photographs in this book are a selection from the thousands returned to Earth during the decade. They were initially assembled by Edgar M. Cortright, a senior official of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, as a personal reminder of the stirring years when man first [vi] developed the ability to propel his cameras and instruments, and then himself, beyond the Earth's atmosphere. With this publication, they become a part of NASA's flow of reports to the American public on some of the growing returns from its investment in the exploration of space. As such, I hope this book can find its way into many American homes, for it is a part of a record of achievement of which our country can be proud.

Photographs from space tell only part of man's reach through the air and on into space. Cameras cannot show the data gathered by many kinds of scientific sensors. They also fail to reflect-except inferentially-the immense impact that our air and space efforts have had on broad areas of life on Earth. And yet, through joining our efforts in aeronautics and space, we have made great strides in the advance of many technological areas. In 1958 we could scarcely put 100 pounds into Earth orbit; now the Saturn V can orbit 140 tons. At the beginning of the decade our lunar probes were failing; now we have reconnoitered the Moon with automated spacecraft and man is almost ready to follow. Ten years ago the utility of space was a gleam in the eyes of enthusiasts; now we have global weather analysis, communications satellites that link continents together, and geodetic and navigational satellites at the service of the whole world.

To do all this, public officials, legislators, scientists, engineers, technicians, and managers have had to tackle and solve new, complex, and demanding problems. Our nation's reach into the space environment is the most complex of the large non-military undertakings that man has yet attempted. Our country's policy is to do it for peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind. As this pictorial report portrays, all mankind has new material to use in moving rapidly to develop new concepts of the reality of the Earth, of the solar system, and of the dynamics and phenomena which control so much of our lives here on Earth. These remarkable photographs cannot reflect all, but they certainly show much of the results we have achieved.

 

JAMES E. WEBB, Administrator
National Aeronautics and Space Administration


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