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Space Science: Astronomy and More

Space flight and exploration have lead to new technologies that extend the capabilities of astronomers, as well as many satellite missions to explore neighboring planets and moons. The two main reasons for doing astronomy from space are 1) to avoid clouds and the blurring effects of turbulence in the atmosphere, and 2) to collect wavelengths of light that are absorbed by the atmosphere and cannot reach terrestrial telescopes.  Students should be aware of the many different astronomy missions doing research, mostly organized around different wavelength ranges of light. Today astronomers are poised to assemble multi-energy portraits of stars and other objects by combining spectra from several different instruments on the ground and in space.

In addition, space itself, especially the space between the Sun and Earth, is a subject of particular interest as both space-based communications and the human presence in space expand.