Space exploration

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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

Space exploration is the discovery and exploration of outer space by means of space technology. Exploration of space can be conducted directly by human spaceflights as well as remotely using robotic spacecraft, telescopes and other space science technologies.

Arranged alphabetically by author or source:
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · See also · External links

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. ~ Wernher von Braun
We now see [the Earth], small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, ~ Archibald MacLeish, after seeing a series of 1968 photos taken by the crew of Apollo 8. The photos included this famous "Earthrise" image showing the Earth rising over the Moon.
Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science. ~ Edwin Hubble
With a partnership that includes 15 nations and with 68 nations currently using the ISS (International Space Station) in one way or another, this unique orbiting laboratory is a clear demonstration of the benefits to humankind that can be achieved through peaceful global cooperation. ~ Joint announcement by Charles Bolden, the Administrator of NASA, and John Holdren
Right now Mars is entirely inhabited by robots, and one of them is artificially intelligent enough to make its own decisions about what to zap with its laser. ~ Raymond Francis, engineer / scientist at Jet Propulsion Laboratory
If we want to go to Mars, it will be very, very difficult, it will cost a great deal of money, and it may cost human lives. But I know now that if we decide to do it, we can. ~ Scott Kelly
It is as inescapable as the laws of physics that humanity will one day confront some type of extinction-level event. ... Now we face perhaps the greatest challenge of all: to leave the confines of Earth and soar into outer space. ... Perhaps our fate is to become a multiplanet species that lives among the stars. ~ Michio Kaku
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. ~ Gene Roddenberry
The moon, obviously, has its advantages [over Mars when considering future human spaceflight missions]. It is several orders of magnitude closer to Earth, which makes it a superb training ground for missions to Mars. Decades from now, when the first astronauts headed to Mars finish firing their rocket engines, their ship will be on an inevitable course that will require months, if not years, to return to Earth, and they had better be prepared for every contingency. The moon is only a few days from our home planet. As every test pilot knows, you should always use a buildup approach when developing new aircraft. In the same vein, our future astronauts will be well served to use the ISS and moon as test beds for the first Mars missions. ~ Terry Virts
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

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

A[edit]

  • 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.
  • 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.
      About the quote: The worldwide impact of Armstrong's pronouncement is illustrated by the attention given to debates about whether he failed to say "a" before "man" in this simple phrase. In the actual sound recordings he apparently omitted the "a"; however Armstrong long insisted he did say it but that it was inaudible. When an Australian computer programmer's analysis decided that he had said the missing "a", the Houston Chronicle duly reported on this conclusion in an article published September 30, 2006. The debate continues, with a linguist and author team weighing in against the "a" in "Armstrong's 'poetic' slip on Moon" at BBC News (3 June 2009).
  • 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.

B[edit]

  • 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.
  • Two centuries ago, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark left St. Louis to explore the new lands acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. They made that journey in the spirit of discovery to learn the potential of the vast new territory and to chart the way for others to follow. America has ventured forth into space for the same reasons. We've undertaken space travel because the desire to explore and understand is part of our character. And that quest has brought tangible benefits that improve our lives in countless ways. The exploration of space has led to advances in weather forecasting, in communications, in computing, search and rescue technology, robotics and electronics. [These advances] helped to create our satellite telecommunications network and the Global Positioning System. [Also,] CAT scanners and MRI machines trace their origins to technology engineered for the use in space. . . . Mankind is drawn to the heavens for the same reason we were once drawn into unknown lands and across the open sea. We choose to explore space because doing so improves our lives and lifts our national spirit.

C[edit]

  • 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)

D[edit]

  • 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.

E[edit]

  • 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.

F[edit]

  • 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.

G[edit]

  • 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

H[edit]

  • But with the race to the Moon won, Nasa returned to the White House with a plan to build a space station and a reusable shuttle to service it. After almost two years of deliberation, the answer came back.
    “The decision was to build the Space Shuttle,” says Barry. “President Nixon realised that they really needed not to kill the space industry and the least expensive option was to build the Space Shuttle.”
    There was an obvious flaw in this plan: there was little point in having the shuttle without a space station. The Soviet Union, meanwhile, saw an opportunity. “They had a very energetic programme to beat the Americans to the Moon,” says Barry. “They didn’t want to admit that in public so their answer was, ‘We were planning to build a space station all along’.”
  • Skylab contained laboratories, sleeping and rest areas; there was even a shower – a design that even those with only a tentative understanding of weightlessness can see is deeply flawed. Above the compartments there was an open area where astronauts could enjoy the thrills of microgravity aerobatics.
    “Compared to the space capsules that astronauts were used to,” says Neal, “it was like being in a house.”
    “Skylab gave us a taste of what it would be like to have a permanent human presence in space,” she adds. “In many ways the ISS is Skylab multiplied – building up the modules like Lego into a larger unit.”
  • If the space race had been about developing a permanent settlement in space, then Russia would have emerged the winner. While Freedom was tied up in committees, crews had been living in space station Mir for more than five years. However, with the final collapse of the Soviet Union in December 1991, the Russian space industry was severely lacking in cash. The economy was in such a desperate state there was a real chance the country’s space programme could fizzle out completely.

K[edit]

  • It is as inescapable as the laws of physics that humanity will one day confront some type of extinction-level event. But will we, like our ancestors, have the drive and determination to survive and even flourish? . . . On a scale of decades, we face threats that are not natural but are largely self-inflicted [including] global warming . . . modern warfare as nuclear weapons proliferate in some of the most unstable regions of the globe, [or] weaponized microbes [that could conceivably] wipe out 98 percent of the human race. . . . On a scale of thousands of years, we face the onset of another ice age [or] the possibility that the supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park may awaken from its long slumber . . . . On a scale of millions of years, we face the threat of another meteor or cometary impact . . . . We now know that there are several thousand NEOs (near-Earth objects) that cross the orbit of the Earth and pose a danger to life on our planet. . . . If there is one lesson we can learn from our history, it is that humanity, when faced with life-threatening crises, has risen to the challenge and reached for even higher goals. In some sense, the spirit of exploration is in our genes and hardwired into our soul. [So] now we face perhaps the greatest challenge of all: to leave the confines of Earth and soar into outer space. . . . Perhaps our fate is to become a multiplanet species that lives among the stars.
    • Michio Kaku, from his book, The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond Earth (2018), pages 3 to 6. Doubleday, a division of Penguin Random House. ISBN 9780385542760.
  • "Killer asteroids are nature's way of asking, 'How's that space program coming along?'" - Anonymous
    • Headline quote at the beginning of Chapter 3, "Mining the Heavens," in Michio Kaku's book, The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny Beyond Earth (2018), page 54. Doubleday, a division of Penguin Random House. ISBN 9780385542760.
  • At 162 feet long, this rocket, the Soyuz-FG, is noticeably smaller than the assembled space shuttle, but it's still a daunting colossus, a building-size object that will, we hope, leave the ground, with us riding on top of it, at twenty-five times the speed of sound. Its navy gray sheet metal, adorned with low-tech rivets, is unbeautiful but somehow comforting in its utility. The Soyuz-FG is the grandchild of the Soviet R-7, the world's first intercontinental ballistic missile. The R-7 was designed during the Cold War for launching nuclear weapons at American targets, and I can't help remembering how as a child I was aware that New York City, and my suburb of West Orange, New Jersey, would have certainly been among the first targets to be instantly vaporized by a Soviet attack. Today, I'm standing inside their formerly secret facility, discussing with two Russians our plans to trust one another with our lives while riding to space on this converted weapon. Gennady, Misha and I all served in our militaries before being chosen to fly in space, and though it's something we never talk about, we all know we could have been ordered to kill one another. Now we are taking part in the largest peaceful international collaboration in history. When people ask whether the space station is worth the expense, this is something I always point out. What is it worth to see two former bitter enemies transform their weapons into transport for exploration and the pursuit of scientific knowledge? . . . This is impossible to put a dollar figure on, but to me it's one of the things that makes this project worth the expense, even worth risking our lives.
  • 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.
  • Aggressive space activities without adequate safeguards could significantly shorten the time between collisions and produce an intolerable hazard to future spacecraft. Some of the most environmentally dangerous activities in space include large constellations such as those initially proposed by the Strategic Defense Initiative in the mid-1980s, large structures such as those considered in the late-1970s for building solar power stations in Earth orbit, and anti-satellite warfare using systems tested by the USSR, the U.S., and China over the past 30 years. Such aggressive activities could set up a situation where a single satellite failure could lead to cascading failures of many satellites in a period much shorter than years.

M[edit]

  • 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.

R[edit]

  • 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.

S[edit]

  • 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), p. 117.

T[edit]

  • 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.

U[edit]

  • A United States citizen engaged in commercial recovery of an asteroid resource or a space resource under this chapter shall be entitled to any asteroid resource or space resource obtained, including to possess, own, transport, use, and sell the asteroid resource or space resource obtained in accordance with applicable law, including the international obligations of the United States.
    • U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (H.R. 2262), (November 25, 2015)

V[edit]

  • The moon, obviously, has its advantages [over Mars when considering future human spaceflight missions]. It is several orders of magnitude closer to Earth, which makes it a superb training ground for missions to Mars. Decades from now, when the first astronauts headed to Mars finish firing their rocket engines, their ship will be on an inevitable course that will require months, if not years, to return to Earth, and they had better be prepared for every contingency. The moon is only a few days from our home planet. As every test pilot knows, you should always use a buildup approach when developing new aircraft. In the same vein, our future astronauts will be well served to use the ISS and moon as test beds for the first Mars missions.

W[edit]

  • 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).

Z[edit]

  • "Already in 1945, we were talking about satellites," Yuri Mozhorin, a veteran of the Soviet rocket development program, told Popular Mechanics. Mozhorin's older colleague in rocketry, Mikhail Tikhonravov, even thought up a plan to fashion a piloted rocket ship out of the V-2 and launch it to the edge of space. Recently declassified documents reveal that Tikhonravov's bosses within the Soviet aviation industry took his plan seriously enough to send it right to the desk of Joseph Stalin in June 1946.
    But after a short flirtation with space flight, the Soviet military leadership focused on the V-2's more destructive capability. In fact, at the beginning of the 1950s, any talk of a satellite or space exploration inside the Soviet missile research centers could get you in serious trouble. All space dreams were considered subversive and distracting from the main overarching goal—the military missiles.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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