martes, 12 de abril de 2011

50 años de la primera aventura espacial




"Me siento bien". Con esas sencillas y escuetas palabras, se constataba –hace hoy 50 años– unas de las mayores gestas de la historia de la humanidad. El ruso Yuri Gagarin, con apenas 27 años, se convertía entonces en el primer ser humano que llegaba al espacio a bordo de la nave Vostok. Muchos han sido los hitos que se han alcanzado desde aquel 12 de abril de 1961: llegada del hombre a la Luna, presencia de robots en Marte, sondas interestelares fuera del Sistema Solar...

El fin de la Guerra Fría –en la que la carrera espacial fue una de sus batallas principales– desincentivó la investigación fuera de la Tierra; sin embargo, y pese a la crisis económica, el 50 aniversario del primer hombre en órbita parece haber reactivado el interés por el cosmos.

La NASA, que mantendrá congelado su presupuesto hasta el año 2016 (algo más de 18.700 millones de dólares al año), no abandonará los grandes proyectos. La llegada de una nave tripulada a Marte aún parece lejana, pero misiones como la Juno –en la que se enviará una sonda que llegará en 2016 a Júpiter para analizar si hay agua en su atmósfera y su temperatura, entre otras cosas– seguirán poniendo a prueba el poderío tecnológico de EE UU.

La Agencia Espacial Europea (ESA) por su parte cuenta desde principios de mes con un nuevo y flamante Puerto Espacial en la Guayana Francesa con el que llevar a cabo sus lanzamientos. La ESA, con un presupuesto mucho más ‘modesto’ –no llega a 4.000 millones de euros, de los que 200 los aporta España– está centrada más en la pura investigación científica, fomentando el desarrollo de nuevos materiales o tecnologías aplicables al ámbito espacial.

El gran objetivo más inmediato para los astronautas de hoy es la Estación Espacial Internacional (ISS), en la que colaboran 16 países, entre ellos España. Precisamente a la ISS llegó el pasado 8 de abril la nave Soyuz Gagarin, con tres tripulantes a bordo y la efigie del cosmonauta soviético pintada en el fuselaje. Se homenajea así al primer ser humano que vio –en un vuelo que duró 108 minutos– la Tierra desde el cielo.


Fuente | 20 Minutos

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