Space exploration

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Space exploration is the discovery and exploration of outer space by means of space technology. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft.


  • Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.
    • First words from the Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle after guiding the craft to a landing on the moon at 4:17pm EDT (20 July 1969); reported in The Washington Post (July 21, 1969), p. 1.

Listen to an original recording of Neil Armstrong's well-known "One giant leap for mankind" quote:

The crew of Apollo 8 took a series of photos in 1968 which were among the first ever of our entire planet within a single frame; they included this famous "Earthrise" image showing the Earth rising over the Moon. After the poet Archibald MacLeish saw the photos, he wrote, "we now see [the Earth], small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats . . . ."
  • That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.
    • Words said when Neil Armstrong first stepped onto the moon (20 July 1969); reported in The Washington Post (July 21, 1969), p. 1. In the actual sound recordings he apparently fails to say "a" before "man" and says: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." This was generally considered by many to simply be an error of omission on his part. Armstrong long insisted he did say "a man" but that it was inaudible. Prior to new evidence supporting his claim, he stated a preference for the "a" to appear in parentheses when the quote is written. In September 2006 evidence based on new analysis of the recordings conducted by Peter Shann Ford, a computer programmer based in Sydney, Australia, whose company Control Bionics helps physically handicapped people to use their own nerve impulses to communicate through computers, indicated that Armstrong had said the missing "a." This information was presented to Armstrong and NASA on 28 September 2006 and reported in the Houston Chronicle (30 September 2006). The debate continues on the matter, as "Armstrong's 'poetic' slip on Moon" at BBC News (3 June 2009) reports that more recent analysis by linguist John Olsson and author Chris Riley with higher quality recordings indicates that he did not say "a".
  • The rockets that have made spaceflight possible are an advance that, more than any other technological victory of the twentieth century, was grounded in science fiction… . One thing that no science fiction writer visualized, however, as far as I know, was that the landings on the Moon would be watched by people on Earth by way of television.
    • Isaac Asimov, Asimov on Physics (1976), 35. Also in Isaac Asimov’s Book of Science and Nature Quotations (1988), 307.
  • Everything in space obeys the laws of physics. If you know these laws, and obey them, space will treat you kindly. And don't tell me that man doesn't belong out there. Man belongs wherever he wants to go—and he’ll do plenty well when he gets there.
  • There is just one thing I can promise you about the outer-space program: Your tax dollar will go farther.
    • Wernher von Braun attributed in Reader's Digest (1961). In Fred R. Shapiro, The Yale Book of Quotations (2006), 101.
  • If our intention had been merely to bring back a handful of soil and rocks from the lunar gravel pit and then forget the whole thing, we would certainly be history's biggest fools. But that is not our intention now—it never will be. What we are seeking in tomorrow's [Apollo 11] trip is indeed that key to our future on earth. We are expanding the mind of man. We are extending this God-given brain and these God-given hands to their outermost limits and in so doing all mankind will benefit. All mankind will reap the harvest…. What we will have attained when Neil Armstrong steps down upon the moon is a completely new step in the evolution of man.
    • Wernher von Braun, Banquet speech on the eve of the Apollo 11 launch, Royal Oaks Country Club, Titusville (15 Jul 1969). In "Of a Fire on the Moon", Life (29 Aug 1969), 67, No. 9, 34
  • I'm convinced that before the year 2000 is over, the first child will have been born on the moon.
    • Wernher von Braun, Taped TV interview, broadcast on WMAL, Washington, (7 Jan 1972), as reported in 'Birth of Child on Moon Foreseen by von Braun', New York Times (7 Jan 1972), 14.
  • Returning to the moon is an important step for our space program. Establishing an extended human presence on the moon could vastly reduce the costs of further space exploration, making possible ever more ambitious missions. Lifting heavy spacecraft and fuel out of the Earth's gravity is expensive. Spacecraft assembled and provisioned on the moon could escape its far lower gravity using far less energy, and thus, far less cost. Also, the moon is home to abundant resources. Its soil contains raw materials that might be harvested and processed into rocket fuel or breathable air. We can use our time on the moon to develop and test new approaches and technologies and systems that will allow us to function in other, more challenging environments. The moon is a logical step toward further progress and achievement.
  • While there is still much to learn and discover through space exploration, we also need to pay attention to our unexplored world here on earth. Our next big leap into the unknown can be every bit as exciting and bold as our pioneering work in space. It possesses the same “wow” factor: alien worlds, dazzling technological feats and the mystery of the unknown.
    • Philippe Cousteau, Jr. In 'Why Exploring the Ocean is Mankind’s Next Giant Leap', contributed to CNN 'Lightyears Blog' (13 Mar 2012)
  • It is of great urgency and importance to our country both from consideration of our prestige as a nation as well as military necessity that this challenge Sputnik be met by an energetic program of research and development for the conquest of space... It is accordingly proposed that the scientific research be the responsibility of a national civilian agency... NACA is capable, by rapid extension and expansion of its effort, of providing leadership in space technology
    • Hugh Dryden in Into the Unknown Together—The DOD, NASA, and Early Spaceflight (PDF), by Mark Erikson, ISBN 1-58566-140-6. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 20, 2009.
  • The emergence of this new world poses a vital issue: will outer space be preserved for peaceful use and developed for the benefit of all mankind? Or will it become another focus for the arms race—and thus an area of dangerous and sterile competition? The choice is urgent. And it is ours to make. The nations of the world have recently united in declaring the continent of Antarctica "off limits" to military preparations. We could extend this principle to an even more important sphere. National vested interests have not yet been developed in space or in celestial bodies. Barriers to agreement are now lower than they will ever be again.
    • Dwight D. Eisenhower, address before the fifteenth General Assembly of the United Nations, New York City, September 22, 1960. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960–61, p. 714.
  • In 1957, the Soviet Union launched an unassuming orb into orbit around the earth. This satellite, the first ever to orbit the earth, started an unprecedented space race, and arms race, between the Soviet Union and the United States. The United States formed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to bring America to the forefront of space travel. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy pledged that the United States would put a man on the moon before the decade was out. NASA fulfilled that legacy in July 1969 when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon uttering the historic phrase "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Today, space travel is as much a part of our history as any other type of exploration. Astronauts today remain in space for weeks and months at a time with astronauts from other countries. But for the decades of the second half of the twentieth century, especially from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, NASA and its accomplishments were the focus of national pride and honor. Failure Is Not An Option tells the story of the men and women behind the space program — the men and women of mission control.
  • The most important thing we can do is inspire young minds and to advance the kind of science, math and technology education that will help youngsters take us to the next phase of space travel.
    • John Glenn, Jr. as summarized on a CNN web page - without quotation marks - from a statement by Glenn about the fourth National Space Day (4 May 2000). 'All
  • First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth…. I believe we should go to the moon. But … there is no sense in agreeing or desiring that the United States take an affirmative position in outer space, unless we are prepared to do the work and bear the burdens to make it successful.
    • John F. Kennedy, special message to a joint session of Congress on urgent national needs, May 25, 1961. The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1961, p. 404, 405.
  • Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said "Because it is there." Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there.
    • John F. Kennedy, address on the nation's space effort, Rice University, Houston, Texas, September 12, 1962. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1962, p. 668. Mallory's remark, "Because it's there," was reported in The New York Times, March 18, 1923, p. 11, during his visit to New York.
  • We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of preeminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war.
    • John F. Kennedy, Address at Rice University in Houston (12 Sep 1962). On website of John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
  • To see the earth as we now see it, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the unending night—brothers who see now they are truly brothers.
    • Archibald MacLeish, "Bubble of Blue Air," Riders on the Earth; Essays and Recollections by Archibald MacLeish, epigraph, p. xiv (1978). This was written by MacLeish for The New York Times "after the Apollo mission of 1968 returned from space with a photograph of what earth looked like as seen from beyond the moon: the photograph which gave mankind its first understanding of its actual situation; riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the unending night—brothers who see now they are truly brothers (p. ix). The article has slightly different wording and reads as follows: "To see the earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold—brothers who know now they are truly brothers". The New York Times (December 25, 1968), p. 1.
  • One obstacle to adulthood needs to be solved immediately: We must learn not just to accept differences between ourselves and our ideas, but to enthusiastically welcome and enjoy them. Diversity contains as many treasures as those waiting for us on other worlds. We will find it impossible to fear diversity and to enter the future at the same time.
  • Star Trek was an attempt to say that humanity will reach maturity and wisdom on the day that it begins not just to tolerate, but take a special delight in differences in ideas and differences in life forms. […] If we cannot learn to actually enjoy those small differences, to take a positive delight in those small differences between our own kind, here on this planet, then we do not deserve to go out into space and meet the diversity that is almost certainly out there.
  • The science and technology which have advanced man safely into space have brought about startling medical advances for man on earth. Out of space research have come new knowledge, techniques and instruments which have enabled some bedridden invalids to walk, the totally deaf to hear, the voiceless to talk, and, in the foreseeable future, may even make it possible for the blind to “see.”
    • Hubertus Strughold, From Outer Space—Advances For Medicine on Earth, contributed in Lillian Levy, Space, Its Impact on Man and Society (1965, reprinted 1973), 117.
  • Some say God is living there [in space]. I was looking around very attentively, but I did not see anyone there. I did not detect either angels or gods…. I don't believe in God. I believe in man—his strength, his possibilities, his reason.
    • Gherman Titov, Soviet cosmonaut, comments at world's fair, Seattle, Washington (May 6, 1962), as reported by The Seattle Daily Times (May 7, 1962), p. 2.
  • Yet I do seriously and on good grounds affirm it possible to make a flying chariot in which a man may sit and give such a motion unto it as shall convey him through the air. And this perhaps might be made large enough to carry divers men at the same time, together with food for their viaticum and commodities for traffic. It is not the bigness of anything in this kind that can hinder its motion, if the motive faculty be answerable thereunto. We see a great ship swims as well as a small cork, and an eagle flies in the air as well as a little gnat…. 'Tis likely enough that there may be means invented of journeying to the moon; and how happy they shall be that are first successful in this attempt.
    • John Wilkins, A Discourse Concerning a New World and Another Planet (1640), book 1, chapter 14, p. 238–39 (spelling modernized).

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Wikipedia has an article about: