First, there was the challenge of the unknown. We have always had explorers of new frontiers who wanted to find out “what’s out there.”
Second, these trips have led to the discovery of important information about ourselves. Preparing an astronaut for weightless travel has taught us much about the human body, that man can work, eat, sleep, and live for months in a weightless atmosphere, with no ill effects.
Third, we wanted to find out more about our universe, how the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars were formed; what dangers might exist from radiation; how weather could be predicted and even changed; and how communications could be improved.
Telescopes orbiting in space sent back 20 times more information in one month than instruments on the ground had learned in 15 years!