On April 12, 55 years ago, the first human being orbited the earth in outer space, Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union. At the time, this event was part of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Thankfully, that conflict ended and the achievement can be appreciated on its own.
Yuri Gagarin was essentially thrown into space in a metal ball and began the era human space flight.
Truly, it was a metal ball.
There are some who say that human space flight is not important and the money ought to be used for more practical and concrete concerns (which there are many.) It is a strong argument which is difficult to argue.
I feel there is something important about space flight. I cannot help but think it is part of very, very big picture of what humans do. We create and push boundaries. We expand and grow. Space travel is part of that growth. It is difficult to put into words, it simply seems important.
Fifty-five years ago space flight began with one man in a ball of metal thrown into the sky.