This month marks the 50th anniversary of the launching of Sputnik, the earth's first artificial satellite. What are the highlights of these first 50 years of space exploration?

Illustration for article titled Fifty Years Of Space Exploration

1961: Alan Shepard is chosen to pilot Freedom 7, leading to protests among more qualified and experienced chimpanzee astronauts

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1964: Sun officially determined to be really, really hot

1969: First moon walk followed by first refreshing moon nap

1971: Halfway back to Earth, the crew of Apollo 15 turn the spacecraft around after realizing they left lunar module pilot James Irwin on the moon

1985: Birth of first person to whom walking on moon

doesn't seem absolutely unbelievable

2001: Space tourist Dennis Tito returns from orbit smelling a little different and spooking the regulars at the diner

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2005: International Space Station gets a flat screen

2007: NASA researchers discover that everything we ever wanted was here on Earth all along

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