By The Editors
On October 4, 1957, the 184-pound Sputnik 1 was successfully launched by the Soviet Union and entered Earth’s orbit. Sputnik 1 was the world’s first artificial satellite, only 56 centimeters (22 inches) in diameter, orbiting the Earth in 96 minutes. Its launch ushered in what is now called the “Space Age“, a new era characterized by a variety of political, scientific and technological achievements accompanied by very rapid changes with profound societal implications.
During the 1960s, the Space Age led to an environmental revolution. Indeed, the Space Age has been pivotal in shaping how we perceive our planet. Marina Benjamin, author of “Rocket Dreams: How the Space Age Shaped Our Vision of a World Beyond”, argues that space exploration has changed our worldviews in more ways than one. She writes: “The impact of seeing the Earth from space focused our energies on the home planet in unprecedented ways, dramatically affecting our relationship to the natural world and our appreciation of the greater community of mankind, and prompting a revolution in our understanding of the Earth as a living system”.
Whether or not we’re still living in the Space Age may be debatable, as the current period is often referred to as Information Age. However, either in a Space or in an Information Age, we are for sure witnessing the Great Acceleration.