While not a new subject, space science has definitely gone through some drastic changes recently (well, in the last century or so at least). It now involves not just looking into space from the comfort of Earth, but also sending out probes and even people. Whether observational, theoretical, or practical in application, space science is expanding in countless ways. The space sciences articles in this category can help you stay up to date on new developments, as well as learn about past discoveries and the methods behind modern space science.
Branches of Space Science
Space science is so vast that it includes many branches covering dozens of specialties. The following are some broad branches that cover the larger areas of the field.
Humans have been looking up to the stars for most of history, making astronomy one of the oldest natural sciences in the world. It started off as a means to create calendars for ancient civilizations or navigate the seas by way of the stars. It has now grown to a vast field that consists of astrophysics, stellar astronomy, galactic astronomy, and more. The branch of observational astronomy uses observatories, telescopes, probes and rovers to gather data from space for analysis. The theoretical branch, on the other hand, uses scientific principles to create models of objects and phenomena in space. Space sciences articles on this topic often focus on the bigger picture of space.
Many of the branches within space science are very interdisciplinary. Planetary science, for example, overlaps greatly with Earth science and the physical aspects it studies. Articles on planetary science might cover topics about the Earth itself, as well as any other planet or planetary body. This could include moons, asteroids, gas giants, and entire planetary systems. The topics of interest in space sciences articles concerning planetary science are how these bodies formed, how they evolve over time, the resources they hold, and other physical aspects of them. As Earth-bound creatures, we have a special affinity for this subject that might help us find new planets to one day call home.
Another interdisciplinary field, astrochemistry, studies the overlap of astronomy with chemistry. It studies the various molecules in the universe and how they interact with one another and with radiation, primarily through the use of spectroscopy. Using this method, astrochemists can infer properties of objects and phenomena in space such as their elemental abundances and temperatures. Due to advancements in the field, many new molecules have been discovered. We have also been able to learn about the compositions and interactions of materials all over the universe. This allows us to understand how everything formed in the past and how it could all change in the future. Combine the space sciences articles in this category with those in the chemistry category for a hybrid experience!
Aerospace Engineering (aka Rocket Science)
With a more hands-on approach, aerospace engineering tackles the practical matter of making spacecraft to explore space. The field also includes aircraft, as it started with the engineering of aviation methods. But it has since progressed to using advanced astrodynamics, materials science, and other mechanics for creating the machines that we use to explore and analyze space. Some of these machines, such as rovers and probes, venture into space alone to collect data that we analyze from Earth. Others, such as the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle, carry humans into space for direct exploration. Checking out the engineering articles in addition to these space sciences articles might give even more insights.
The Science of Humans and Life in Space
Space science started with looking up to the stars, and probably always included the urge to reach for them. However, it hasn’t been until recently that this was really an option. Space exploration is increasingly a part of space science. It started with probes, then animals were sent up to test the waters, and then humans finally made the leap. Now, we’re starting to think about what will be necessary for future generations to move away from the Earth through colonizing other planetary bodies. One of the biggest current areas of interest is the growing possibility of Mars colonization becoming a reality. Moving to Mars or one of the other water- or ice-bearing rocky bodies in the solar system is the logical next step for the human race. If we wish to survive long term in the solar system and beyond, we need to expand beyond this planet. It is crucial to not only consider how to get to other planets, but also how to settle on them. Common concerns of explorers on Earth are once again big areas of research in space science. We are studying how to treat medical problems in space and on other planets and how to make the medicine; how to have sustainable agriculture, and how to maintain physical health on other planets; how to help humans physically and mentally tolerate long space journeys, etc.
Getting Involved in the Space Sciences
The space sciences articles in this category can help you learn both for fun and for career goals. They keep professionals up to date, or pair well for studying in tough college courses. After all, practically all of the sub-fields in space science require advanced education. Getting a bachelors degree in a core natural science such as physics or chemistry is probably sufficient, but should be followed by more specialized master’s and/or PhD programs. Such highly specialized education on such a difficult topic is likely to lead to appropriately high pay and job security. Outside of school, there are other ways to involve yourself in keeping up with current news, events, and activities. Other than Direct Knowledge, you can get quality reading material from sources such as Astronomy, Planetary Report, and Air & Space. Also check out local organizations and clubs you can join for activities such as building rockets or stargazing. These are especially helpful for encouraging kids to explore a rich and exciting field that may lead them to great hobbies or even careers in the future.
Books in the Space Sciences
Space sciences does more than just satiate our sense of curiosity. It drives innovation that leads to new technologies and spurs economic growth. People draw inspiration from it to learn and to become scientists themselves. It encourages a wider view of the world that goes beyond our own planet and Earth-bound problems. These are just a few reasons to get involved in the field, and you’re sure to find many more in the space sciences books in this category.
Planets, Stars, Comets, and More
Space science is a wide field which includes a number of areas of study. Anything that has to do with outer space is fair game. Some areas are obvious, like space exploration and astronomy. The bookAstronomy in this category can help any reader better understand what lies beyond Earth. It covers topics such as orbits and gravity, the solar system and its planets, other stars, and far away galaxies. It doesn’t focus too much on technical details like formulas and calculations. Rather, it uses visuals and interesting information to spark the curiosity in readers. But if you’re actually looking for something more technical, the space sciences book Mechanics and Relativity may be for you. It is designed for students with no experience in the subject, but still teaches the math and physics related to these important areas of space sciences. The book introduces these subjects in a clear and easy manner with helpful diagrams, examples, and original practice problems. This plus constant connections with real-world applications will keep any reader engaged. Other subjects within the space sciences might be things you’ve never ever heard of, like astrobiology and space medicine. After all, how can we study biology in space if we don’t yet know of any life out there? Well, we can theorize about it, and we can study how our own biology interacts with space environments. This even includes looking at how early life formed on Earth. Take a look at these unique disciplines and more in the space sciences books in this category of Direct Knowledge.
Space Sciences Books Everyone
The great thing about the breadth of space science is that it means almost anyone can start reading about it. For example, professionals and academics actively work in the field to come up with new technology, algorithms, math, theories and more. For this they need scientific work from other researchers and high level space sciences books on new developments and methods. But regular folks can also find material for learning just for the sake of curiosity. And, it’s very crucial they do so. Science shouldn’t just be something for a select group of people. It should be taken into consideration in all decisions in society. This includes politics where average citizens vote for people who make decisions about scientific topics like health and the environment.
Relevance in Today’s World
Space science can give us insights into the workings of our own planet, but it is also growing in relevance in its own right. Although it feels like a long time ago, the moon landings were fairly recent in the grand scheme of things. And, there is more talk every day about sending humans to Mars, or even creating a lunar base. Some less exciting areas also require space science knowledge, like the use of satellites or potential dangers from solar flares and asteroids. Space science books for the average person just looking to learn and be aware of new discoveries generally won’t require specific knowledge ahead of time. But, there are also educational books for people with some knowledge, and those for higher-level learners. The other possibility is books looking to teach you how to actively get involved in the field. These focus less on new discoveries and more on the technicalities of the science in the field and how to contribute. Whichever stage you’re at, you’ll find something that fits your level and interests.
Professional technical writer specializing in material relating to Earth sciences, environmental economics, and developmental economics. Megan has a B.S. in Geophysics from the University of Texas at Austin, as well a M.S. in Environment and Sustainable Development from the University of Glasgow. She has worked in the government sector for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and currently lives in Mexico City where she works as a freelancer.