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The story of exploration
Early explorers relied on pretty rudimentary navigation techniques; ancient civilisations mostly used stellar guidance, following maps of the stars in the night sky to chart their position, while the Vikings sent out ravens to guide them to new lands. Navigation had a long way to go. In 1492, Columbus discovered America or what he thought was the 'East Indies'. His mistake was largely because he had no idea how far east or west he had come. Calculating that meant knowing the time, which was impossible without reliable sea going clocks, and these wouldn't be invented until the late 1700s. Around which time, the Montgolfier brothers were adding a vertical dimension to exploration, with the first manned flight in a balloon. By the time humans had mastered flight there was a new challenge: space. In the 1920s, a pioneering physicist, Robert Goddard, invented the first liquid-fuelled rocket and over the coming years man followed dogs and chimps up into space. Until in 1969, the Apollo 11 team reached the lunar surface and humans made their first steps on another world. First broadcast on 'Dara O Briain's Science Club' on BBC Two in December 2012.
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