Today is the 50th anniversary since Sputnik soars the skies, making it the first man-madeSputnik object to orbit the earth. Created in the tense atmosphere surrounding the cold war, the Russians cheered this accomplishment, while for many USA citizens it marked fear.

Sputnik became the catalyst and inspiration for a nation to rally around sciences. President Eisenhower established the position of Presidential Science Adviser, the USA congress incorporated science into much of it’s policy-making, funding for the sciences soared, and NASA was created. This beach sized satellite was also the precursor to Communication satellites, helping bring the world closer.

Sadly today the sciences and space exploration aren’t doing quite as well. Funding has been cut in some of these important organizations, and NASA is often caught up in embarrassing problems. Still Sputnik orbited the earth for three short months, but it’s impact and legacy are still felt today.

You can read more about Sputnik’s impact from articles in the Associated Press, Seattle Post Intelligencer, and the Wikipedia entry.

Image info here.