The History of Space Exploration.
The history of space exploration began shortly after the big bang, right when their started being enough space to do a lot of exploring in. Before that the universe was pretty cramped and you could easily see from one end of it to the other. With the advantage of greater distances came the necessity of traversing those distances. This need led to the creation of matter and energy. Matter is that which actually goes places in the universe, and energy is that which gets it there.
Matter and energy in the universe gave rise to the things which did the exploring, and the things that were being explored. For a great deal of time the exploration of the universe went entirely undocumented due to the lack of any known intelligence capable of documenting it. Despite this the universe kept on exploring itself for an estimated 14 billion years before the first known intelligent beings began documenting their discoveries.
The entire history of intelligent space exploration as known to the human race consists of a few trips to the moon, some sustained low orbit capabilities, and lots of looking up with telescopes and cameras. Manned exploration has been a low priority. By analogy it would be as if Ferdinand and Isabella had given Columbus a nice pair of spectacles, a compass, and a rowboat for his journey to the new world. Exploring space with in a rowboat is not anymore feasible and so humans have spent most of their efforts on other means.
Unmanned and observational discovery of the universe has enjoyed more support. We have succeeded in initial probes of most of our solar system. We have landed interactive robotic probes on our nearest planetary neighbor. We’ve intercepted a comet with an impact probe to study its composition. The orbiting Hubble telescope allows us to observe deep-field images which show us the very oldest parts of the universe. We have collected enough information to make statistical assumptions about the composition of the universe as a whole. Science has wholly determined that the universe beyond Earth is impressively far away and hard to get to.
Earth is a comfortable place for human beings and as an intelligent and enlightened species we are fairly comfortable on our warm planet. In this incubator we are able to observe the universe from a safe distance and determine that it’s really not as interesting as the stuff here on Earth.
So the history of human space exploration is very close to its end. There will be a commercialism fad for about a decade which will lead to some unfortunate decompression events and people will loose interest in space altogether. Fortunately space will continue exploring itself for billions and billions of years to come and will eventually figure out the big questions. Too bad we won’t be around to find out.