It's now been over 50 years since Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person to travel to space. On 12th April 1961, Gagarin spent 108 minutes orbiting the Earth in the Vostok 1 spacecraft, before safely landing back on Earth.
Gagarin's flight was an early victory for the Soviet Union in the space race but, more importantly, it marked the first step in our exploration of the universe and highlighted the fragility of the Earth.
Although there's no footage of Gagarin's journey, it has since been recreated in real time by the crew of the International Space Station. This is shown below.
After the flight, Gagarin continued to progress within the Soviet Air Force, becoming a Colonel in 1963. Unfortunately, his life was cut short in 1968, when he was killed in a jet crash, aged only 34.
Over 500 people have visited space since Gagarin's pioneering mission, twelve of which walked on the Moon. Although it's more cost effective to explore space using robotic probes, we will need to learn how humans can live in such environments if we ever want to colonise the Solar System.
Russia, Japan, China, India, Europe, and the USA, have all stated that they would like to complete a manned mission to the Moon within the next century, and the European Space Agency (ESA) aims to complete a manned mission to Mars by 2030.