What is Space exploration: Definition and 45 Discussions

Space exploration is the use of astronomy and space technology to explore outer space. While the exploration of space is carried out mainly by astronomers with telescopes, its physical exploration though is conducted both by unmanned robotic space probes and human spaceflight. Space exploration, like its classical form astronomy, is one of the main sources for space science.
While the observation of objects in space, known as astronomy, predates reliable recorded history, it was the development of large and relatively efficient rockets during the mid-twentieth century that allowed physical space exploration to become a reality. Common rationales for exploring space include advancing scientific research, national prestige, uniting different nations, ensuring the future survival of humanity, and developing military and strategic advantages against other countries.The early era of space exploration was driven by a "Space Race" between the Soviet Union and the United States. The launch of the first human-made object to orbit Earth, the Soviet Union's Sputnik 1, on 4 October 1957, and the first Moon landing by the American Apollo 11 mission on 20 July 1969 are often taken as landmarks for this initial period. The Soviet space program achieved many of the first milestones, including the first living being in orbit in 1957, the first human spaceflight (Yuri Gagarin aboard Vostok 1) in 1961, the first spacewalk (by Alexei Leonov) on 18 March 1965, the first automatic landing on another celestial body in 1966, and the launch of the first space station (Salyut 1) in 1971.
After the first 20 years of exploration, focus shifted from one-off flights to renewable hardware, such as the Space Shuttle program, and from competition to cooperation as with the International Space Station (ISS).
With the substantial completion of the ISS following STS-133 in March 2011, plans for space exploration by the U.S. remain in flux. Constellation, a Bush Administration program for a return to the Moon by 2020 was judged inadequately funded and unrealistic by an expert review panel reporting in 2009.
The Obama Administration proposed a revision of Constellation in 2010 to focus on the development of the capability for crewed missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO), envisioning extending the operation of the ISS beyond 2020, transferring the development of launch vehicles for human crews from NASA to the private sector, and developing technology to enable missions to beyond LEO, such as Earth–Moon L1, the Moon, Earth–Sun L2, near-Earth asteroids, and Phobos or Mars orbit.In the 2000s, China initiated a successful manned spaceflight program when India launched Chandraayan 1, while the European Union and Japan have also planned future crewed space missions. China, Russia, and Japan have advocated crewed missions to the Moon during the 21st century, while the European Union has advocated manned missions to both the Moon and Mars during the 20th and 21st century.
From the 1990s onwards, private interests began promoting space tourism and then public space exploration of the Moon (see Google Lunar X Prize). Students interested in Space have formed SEDS (Students for the Exploration and Development of Space). SpaceX is currently developing Starship, a fully reusable orbital launch vehicle that is expected to massively reduce the cost of spaceflight and allow for crewed planetary exploration.

View More On Wikipedia.org
  1. benswitala

    Manned (or Staffed) space exploration

    Do the people on this forum support manned (staffed) space exploration? I would like to know? Or would we be better off with simply robots exploring space for us. What is your opinion?
  2. sophiecentaur

    GW Impact of Space Exploration

    It looks to me like no more than a huge ego trip for rich people. How much of the money spent will contribute to our knowledge of Science or Space. One image from JWST probably has more worth than the whole of this fun project. They might just as well send their money to Yemen, Ukraine or Haiti...
  3. X11400

    B Rationale behind certain aspects of Space exploration

    If one were trying to look for life outside of our planet, would it be more logical to start off on Mars or to go elsewhere?
  4. Demigod

    B Hyperloop - Orbital Space Launch

    I'm hoping I can get my idea debunked or with some words of encouragement, continue my investigation in what could be an ideal way to solve some propulsion issues in space travel. What I'm suggesting is building a large circular "maglev" accelerator in space, similar to CERN, which wouldn't...
  5. J

    What is the largest possible Rotating wheel space station?

    What is the largest possible Rotating wheel space station possible to be constructed with current materials? and what would be the population it would support. also formulas used for calculation.would be useful. Could constructing cylindrical space elevators support more population,
  6. M

    Can Alcubierre Warp Drive technology be affected by gravity wells?

    In the anime series Super Dimension Fortress Macross (Robotech in the US), they fold space to travel vast distances. In the first episode, the humans plan an emergency fold to jump from Earth to the moon. Supposedly you shouldn't fold space too close to a planet. Their mistake sends them...
  7. J

    Is it possible to pour concrete in a vacuum?

    One idea for a moon base would be reinforced concrete domes, but is pouring concrete in a total vacuum even possible? Wouldn't the water just evaporate, or is there another material we could use instead of water? Are the ingredients of concrete plentiful on the moon, or could we synthesize them...
  8. Prof Sabi

    What it takes to start a space exploration company?

    Hello, Hola, hajimemashite physics family, Well do you know what It takes to start a space exploration company such as making cubesats , satellites or launching vehicles? :wideeyed:o_O:woot: Give your suggestions please :oldeyes::oldbiggrin::angel: Regards.
  9. BlackholeGirl

    NASA [NASA] Cosmological projects instead of space exploration

    NASA decided to stop *WFIRST and concentrate on Mars project (send humans to Mars). What do you think about it? In my opinion, since a lot of ventures have begun space developments such as SpaceX and this proves that rockets make money, NASA should tackle WFIRST. Generally, we cannot earn...
  10. ISamson

    The Future of Space Exploration

    Hello. As many theories and hypotheses that there are about a secure, reliable and effective future space exploration and colonisation that there are, I would like to dedicate this thread to the discussion of this topic. Some of the suggestions are: Von Neumann probes are an effective strategy...
  11. Alissa95

    What to do after MSci Physics? Physics/aerospace/etc....?

    Please excuse any rambling, I’m going to try and make this as concise as possible. My background: I’m currently about to enter my 4th (final) year of an integrated masters in ‘Physics with Particle Physics and Cosmology’ – all that means is that all the particle and cosmology modules were...
  12. D

    What research field is concerned with the mechanics of sand?

    I am interested in conducting a research project involving the design of a tool to aid astronauts to perform experiments on lunar surfaces (for the NASA Micro-g NExT student challenge), but I do not know appropriate key words or questions to ask to begin my research. The specific scenario of...
  13. James Webb Space Telescope Instrument Installation

    James Webb Space Telescope Instrument Installation

    Time-lapse video of two dozen engineers and technicians successfully installing the package of science instruments of the James Webb Space Telescope into the telescope structure.
  14. TheOriginalOP

    I want to start an Aerospace Company

    Hey guys, so I am currently a freshman in college and I want nothing more in life than to combine two things that I love...Entrepreneurship and Space Exploration, I want to follow in the footsteps of Elon Musk, Robert Bigelow, and Richard Branson. I know that the odds are stacked against me...
  15. T

    Near Lightspeed Space Exploration - Query

    I mostly just imagine stuff. For some years I've had imaginings of what might be possible if we could fire a laser like that of the N.I.F. into a magnetic field like that of the L.H.C. Recently, Hawking has announced his initiative to explore space at near lightspeed with "micro-ships"...
  16. GiantSheeps

    Can We Combine Solar Sails and Ion Thrusters for Faster Space Travel?

    I've heard a lot of people talk about solar sails versus things like Ion thrusters, and it seems that both have their advantages and disadvantages. So I was wondering whether or not it's possible to use both on a single spacecraft ? That way you could get the speed of an ion thruster along with...
  17. Tsubaki

    SpaceX Is SpaceX A Viable Option in Space Exploration?

    Hey guys, I'm not sure if this would really fit into any specific area of the site. But I guess I was just wondering your opinions on SpaceX, and private spacefaring corporations in general. I'm not even going to get into Virgin Galactic or Mars One. :P In terms of technological advancements and...
  18. W

    Nature of radiation on interplanetary space exploration

    I've heard tell that a mission to the Galilean satellites is difficult for many reasons, but radiation is one of them. Is it safe to say that above all, the worst radiation is when you are landing and have landed on the surface of the Galilean satellites, because you are in Jupiter's Van Allen...
  19. B

    Interested in space exploration, help

    Greetings. I'm currently in the process of looking at universities worldwide (I recently won an open scholarship). It's an overwhelming task. I am fascinated with space exploration.Therefore I have naturally been attracted to Astronomy and Astrophysics, and even Aerospace Engineering. At...
  20. stevebd1

    NASA Nautilus-X - NASA's Multi-mission Space Exploration Vehicle Concept

    Some may already be aware of this but I discovered it for the first time today- http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=36068 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nautilus-X Looks like they may be testing the centrifuge on the ISS some time in 2013.
  21. S

    Should space exploration be only the developed world’s adventure?

    I had mixed feelings when the first Indian unmanned lunar mission came under sharp criticism, the most common argument was that “should a country with such a poverty rate ,malnutrition and one the lowest per capita GDP really be spending on development of such technologies that are usually done...
  22. A

    Medical Space Exploration: Reinforcing Bones with Metal Plating?

    Ok, so one problem with space is that bones lose mass, making them weak. Could one way around this (and osteoperosis on Earth) be to graft somekind of metal plating onto the bone structure to reinforce it in some way?
  23. S

    Use of Nuclear power in space exploration.

    I read that nuclear power when used for propulsion of a vehicle can be very efficient for example nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carriers can run over twenty years without refueling and can travel enormously long distances with the fission of a few kilograms of uranium,but why is this...
  24. C

    Finding a Career in Space Exploration

    Hello! I wanted to see if anyone here would be able to help give me some advice about my University education. I've just graduated from High School and I got my marks on my Diploma Exams back (In Alberta, Canada there is a Standardized Provincial Exam at the end of each Grade 12 course that is...
  25. A

    In wich economic model this are more advanced: Space Exploration and Science.

    I really would like to suport the ideology that's helps science and space exploration. Capitalism, Socialism or a Mixed Economy, Socialist Market economy etc.
  26. R

    Is space exploration a waste of money?

    Hi, First of all let me say that my answer to the question in my title is "absolutely not!" I think space exploration is extremely important not only because it is inspiring and amazing but it also provides so many important spin off technologies. But with everything that has been going on...
  27. C

    Finding a Passion for Physics and Space Exploration

    Hello everyone, I'm a junior in high school and I've been having trouble trying to figure out my life career. I currently have a "B" in chemistry and have kind of been gliding my way through the year, not applying myself because of this unsureness of a career. Well I've always been...
  28. R

    What are your views on the future of Space Exploration

    It is no secret that the days of mankind are numbered on Earth. Humans have the whole universe to explore to find resources or another spaceship. Will this be taken seriously by the general public or will it remain a dream of a fanatical few? Is there future in space exploration and would a...
  29. F

    Exploring Space: Is It Manifest Destiny?

    I was having a discussion with one of my professors the other week about human exploration of space. He said that the only reason for continued manned exploration and settlements on other planets would be if we were to find signs of life on another planet like Mars. I disagree, I believe that...
  30. N

    What Can You Do with a Degree in Earth and Space Exploration?

    My school offers a degree in Earth and Space Exploration. To me it sounds interesting and I'm thinking about double it majoring along with geology. And since there is already a lot of overalp in classes it probably won't add too much classes wise. It seems like a very general degree and I'm...
  31. Eraniamayomii

    Advancing the Human Race Through Space Exploration

    Hello. Let me start by asking your forgiveness for my lack of grammatical skill. I know I need work in this subject. None-the-less, I'd like to ask a couple question concerning my dream. Please keep in mind that college is quite a ways off. I'd like to be prepared now though. Along with my...
  32. W

    Exploring a 3-Year BS Plan for Space Exploration

    Hi Physics Forums! I've been lurking for a couple months now and decided to post after laying out a 3-year Applied Physics BS plan. You must be thinking why three years for a BS. Well I've been in school for three years now, and have finally figured out what I want to do for the rest of my...
  33. Astronuc

    Developments in Space Exploration

    Some interesting ideas Europe floats future space ideas http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7053057.stm As compared to $100 bn /yr for Bush's fiasco. Esa, Nasa team up on key missions http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6767183.stm Major space missions move ahead...
  34. P

    I need to ask questions about Space exploration.

    I need to ask 10 opinionated questions about space exploration. I have 9, but I need ideas for the final one. My first 9 are as follows: 1. Do you think space exploration is worth the cost? 2. If you could, would you go into space as an official NASA astronaut? 3. If you could afford...
  35. T

    Astronaut Dreams: One Man's Quest for Space Exploration

    http://www.technewsworld.com/rsstory/56068.html Seems he is serious about it. Without doubts,he deserves to go if he wants to. So far it's just zero- G training,but I remember reading he dreamed about longer living in an Earth orbit some day.
  36. S

    Space Exploration and its effect on the Earth's Oxygen supply: I have a question

    Alright, this may seem a bit of a childish question, but for my sake I need it answered. So please stay with me. Alright, pretty much what this is all about is the effect that space exploration has on the Earth's air supply. We were all sitting around talking about the creation of a space...
  37. L

    Should We Return to the Moon with Apollo Technology?

    A few weeks ago NASA announced it's next generation of rockets. Based on The APollo design it will take us to orbit, ,the space station,and even The Moon. My questions are, do we want to do this? This would be taking us backwards since it's based on APollo technology. Is it reusable? Will it...
  38. N

    A Story of Friendship and Space Exploration: My Dedication from a Cosmonaut

    Hello :smile: While I was browsing through all the contributions for this weeks PF Photo Contest - "When You Wish Upon A Star" I remembered a book which was given to me as a gift when I was 11 years old. (a few years ago :rolleyes:) It told the story of manned space flight. Well today...
  39. M

    On-Line Based Team Efforts of Commercial Space Exploration.

    Hi, I started the U.S. Aeronautical and Aerospace Association, and will begin my studies of Aviation Science and Aeronautical Engineering during the summer term of 2005. I was hoping to find people around the same age group or level of intel. Others are also welcomed! Here is information about...
  40. M

    Exploring Space: The Future of USAA and Commercial Space Travel

    This post is intended for individuals who are currently at the college level, or surpassed the college level and hold an interest in space travel. I represent the USAA (U.S. Aeronautical and Aviation Association.) More information available on the group at our website...
  41. Evo

    New U.S. Plan for Space Exploration

    Excerpts from a news article from ABCnews.com. The president is set to announce next week that he wants to send astronauts back to the moon around the year 2013, and to make a flyby of Mars by around 2020, sources say. To help pay for the program, the sources say the Space Shuttles would...
  42. Ivan Seeking

    A great day for space exploration

    So far...The Mars Rover Spirit: WOW! Cheers to NASA! I can't take my eyes off of the NASA live feed. http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/landing.cfm
  43. R

    Will Deep Space Exploration ever begin?

    The photo was taken in 97, Mother's Day, in Louisville Ky, above a old Catholic Church, by myself and brother. The appration in the form of snakish charteristics looming above the church exhibits a heart of evil undreamable- It's not alone- Anyways, I was hoping you space folks could...
  44. R

    Is There Affordable Technology for Capturing Paranormal Activity?

    This photo was taken in 97, Mother's Day, in Louisville Ky, above a old Catholic Church, by myself and brother. The appration in the form of snakish charteristics exhibits a heart of evil undreamable- It's not alone- There is a very hellish dimension They are spiritual in nature and...