Which branch of science is concerned with space travel?

Space science encompasses all scientific disciplines involving the exploration of space and the study of natural phenomena and physical bodies that occur in outer space, such as space medicine and astrobiology. In the 1980s, NASA, ESA and the Institute of Space and Astronautical Sciences of Japan launched a cooperative venture to develop a complete series of space missions, called the International Solar-Terrestrial Physics Program, which would aim to thoroughly investigate the connection between the Sun and the Earth. The objective is to detect those organisms that are capable of surviving the conditions of space travel and maintaining the capacity for proliferation. The focus of research in space physics was later extended to understanding the characteristics of the Sun, as an average star and as the main source of energy for the rest of the solar system, and to exploring the space between the Sun and the Earth and other planets (see interplanetary medium).

Early research in space science showed, for example, that luminous atmospheric displays known as auroras are the result of this interaction, and scientists came to understand that the magnetosphere is an extremely complex phenomenon. However, most of space science was carried out, and is still being done, by robotic spaceships in Earth orbit, in other places from which they observe the universe or on missions to various bodies in the solar system. In the United States, the first studies of the Sun were carried out by a series of satellites of the Solar Observatory in orbit (launched between 1962 and 1967) and the astronaut crews of the Skylab space station between 1973 and 1974, using the support of the Apollo telescope of that facility. Astroecology refers to the interactions of life with space environments and resources, on planets, asteroids and comets.

For example, NASA's Kepler mission seeks to discover Earth-sized planets around other stars by measuring minute changes in the star's light curve as the planet passes between the star and the spacecraft. The alternative hypothesis of panspermia is that the first elements of life may have formed on another planet with even more favorable conditions (or even in interstellar space, asteroids, etc.) Bilateral or multilateral cooperation between several countries to carry out scientific space missions became the usual way of proceeding. The spacecraft would enter the orbit of Saturn and allow multiple flyovers through the icy plumes of Enceladus to collect icy and volatile plume particles and return them to Earth in a capsule. In addition to the United States and the Soviet Union, several other countries achieved the capacity to develop and operate scientific spaceships and, therefore, carry out their own scientific space missions.

The concept of space weather was proposed to describe the changing conditions in the Sun-Earth region of the solar system. Also, keep an eye out for school clubs, volunteer work, summer jobs, or internships available in math or science. Beagle 2 was a failed British lander on Mars that was part of the European Space Agency's 2003 Mars Express mission.

Jeannie Eschenbrenner
Jeannie Eschenbrenner

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