Held on the first Friday of May since 1997, Space Day is dedicated to the celebration of the great achievements in space travel and exploration, and promoting education about the vastness that lies beyond. My interest in space has always been a mixture of fascination and awe. Science was never my subject, but learning about space and imagining other worlds still provides endless enjoyment, especially when I’m learning about through stamps!
In honor of Space Day, I’m sharing my 10 favorite space-themed stamps (it was hard to narrow them down!) and what they’ve taught me about the final frontier.
In 1962, aboard the Mercury Friendship 7, John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth. His 1998 return to space at age 77, on the shuttle Discovery, heightened interest in the space program.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope imaged an eerie cradle of star formation called the Lagoon Nebula. The giant clouds of dusty gas may have been shaped by high-speed interstellar winds created within the clouds by newly formed stars.
The extended, close-range observation of Saturn by the Voyager 2 satellite in the 1980s provided NASA in depth information on the ringed planet for the first time.
Reminiscent of the 1930s vision of space travel made popular in movies and comic book adventures, this fantasy of futuristic space life brings a sense of whimsy and imagination to the somewhat terrifying notion of one day living in space.
Launched March 1972, Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to travel to Jupiter and send back data and images. Eleven years later, it became the first man-made object to leave the solar system.
Traveling 218,096 miles, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin immortalized themselves in history when they became the first men to walk on the moon in 1969.
From colonizing remote planets to building lunar bases to zooming through the stars, we have pictured a variety of outer space adventures, many of which have been realized. Perhaps one day a base like this imagined one will not seem like such a fantasy.
The Postal Service’s first round stamp, the hologram image of the Earth in the center pays tribute to the great achievements of the American space program.
The Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California, houses five telescopes that are nightly used to conduct astronomical research and collect data. An essential component to space exploration, telescopes let us view the solar system from Earth long before we broke through the atmosphere.
It is truly amazing what humans have accomplished in outer space. Though the space shuttle age is over, we’ve only just begun to discover what lies beyond our world.