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Subject details

  • Topics
    • Ground-based space exploration: telescopes, detectors, limitations of ground-based observations
    • Unmanned space exploration: orbiting observatories, planetary missions, observing asteroids, comets, the sun, the heliopause and beyond
    • People in space: manned versus robotic missions, space stations, colonisation and terraforming
    • Evolution of human space flight: from fireworks to the V-2 rocket, Sputnik to Gargarin, to the Moon or bust, from Skylab to the Space Station.....
    • Spacecraft design, launch and navigation: a probe for every purpose, lift-off and boosters, docking and course correction, navigating in space.....
    • Imaging and remote sensing: instrumentation, telemetry, communication, space observatories, data processing and manipulation
    • Fuelling interplanetary missions: energy sources and techniques used in past, present and planned space missions, designs and intended uses.....
    • Costs, risks and benefits: scientific, legal and ethical dimensions: the science goals, public perception, legal implications and ethical consid'ns..
  • Study resources
    • Instructional Methods
      • Disscusion forum/Discussion Board
      • Embedded Multimedia
      • Online Quizzes/Tests
      • Online assignment submission
      • Standard Media
      • Web links

At the completion of this subject students will be able to:

  1. Identify and describe the basic principles, issues and science goals in space exploration
  2. Discuss and explain the history and development of space exploration, especially issues such as manned versus unmanned space exploration, spacecraft design, launch and navigation, imaging and remote sensing, and the biomechanics of space flight, in a non-technical way understandable to the wider public
  3. Recognise how the social implications of space science and an analysis of the costs, risks & benefits of space exploration, including the ethical and legal implications of topics such as the use of radioisotope fuel sources, 'space junk' and mining rights in space
  4. Use problem solving skills to explain solutions to problems in space exploration
  5. Design and create a research project using credible sources of astronomical information and research articles and/or observational means.
  • Assignment 1 - Newsgroups (30%)
  • Assignment 2 - Project (50%)
  • Assignment 3 - Online tests (20%)

Textbooks are subject to change within the academic year. Students are advised to purchase their books no earlier than one to two months before the start of a subject

Entry Requirements

Equivalent Subjects

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following subject(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • SWI-HET610

You must have successfully completed the following subject(s) before starting this subject:

Special requirements

No special requirements

This subject presents the basic principles, issues and scientific goals in space exploration, and traces its history and development with particular reference to manned versus unmanned space exploration, spacecraft design, launch and navigation, imaging and remote sensing. Public perception of space science and analysis of the costs, risks and benefits of space exploration are discussed with special reference to ethical and legal implications of topics, such as the use of radioisotope fuel sources, 'space junk' and mining rights in space.

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