Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Pari. Pari Wonders, “how do modern scientist explore space” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Pari!

Do you ever look up at the bright stars in the nighttime sky? Do you WONDER what’s out there? Of course, your teachers have taught you that there are stars, planets, and entire galaxies in the universe.

But how do we know this? People have walked on the Moon, but when you think about the size of the universe, the Moon is fairly close to Earth. After all, other moons and planets are millions of lightyears away. How do scientists study the far reaches of space?

Many people use technology to see beyond our planet. Some devices have helped experts look into our galaxy and beyond. One of the first tools for space exploration was the telescope. It gave scientists their first look at what exists beyond Earth’s atmosphere. Telescopes use lenses and mirrors to see beyond Earth’s borders.

Scientists learned quite a bit with telescopes. This paved the way for more space exploration. Humans have taken trips to the Moon and dozens of space shuttle flights. They have traveled in space and carried out research on many scientific subjects.

Scientists have always been curious. The more we learn about outer space, the more we see how much more there is to explore. This has led experts to build even more powerful tools. These help people explore far beyond the places we can go as humans.

For example, the telescope is no longer an Earth-bound instrument. In 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was sent into outer space. It’s now been there for over 30 years. It has sent back pictures of our universe that couldn’t have been taken in any other way.

The Hubble Telescope is an amazing piece of technology. The tool powered by sunlight. It uses many cameras and scientific instruments. This telescope has given scientists very helpful data. NASA says that data from the Hubble Space Telescope has been used in over 17,000 scientific papers!

Since late 2000, scientists have also done hundreds of experiments in low-Earth orbit. That’s thanks to the International Space Station (ISS). It’s the first orbital space station meant for long-term visits from astronauts from many countries. Scientists hope the ISS will be a stepping stone to sending humans on missions to Mars and beyond.

In the meantime, scientists have continued to push forward. They’ve built many machines to seek out the deepest corners of our solar system. Probes, such as NASA’s Cassini probe, have been sent to explore other planets. If you’ve seen a spectacular picture of Saturn recently, you can thank the Cassini probe.

Astronomers have always been interested in Mars. Now, we know more than ever about the red planet. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Mars rovers, Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity, are powerful robots. They have helped scientists learn much about the geology of Mars.

As time marches on, scientists will continue to learn more and more about our universe. They’ll use advanced scientific technology to do so. Thanks to the Kepler telescope, launched in 2009, scientists now know that there are possibly over 3,000 planets orbiting more than 2,000 stars in the Milky Way galaxy. These were all found thanks to Kepler!

Are you interested in learning more about space? Maybe you can join the ranks of space scientists one day! You can start today by learning everything you can about the objects in our universe.

Standards: NGSS.ESS1.A, NGSS.ESS1.B, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.7, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

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Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day takes an up-close look at a childhood favorite!