Module 9.2 - Space

Contextual Outline

Scientists have drawn on advances in areas such as aeronautics, material science, robotics, electronics, medicine and energy production to develop viable spacecraft. Perhaps the most dangerous parts of any space mission are the launch, re-entry and landing. A huge force is required to propel the rocket a sufficient distance from the Earth so that it is able to either escape the Earth's gravitational pull or maintain an orbit. Following a successful mission, re-entry through the Earth's atmosphere provides further challenges to scientists if astronauts are to return to Earth safely.

Rapid advances in technologies over the past fifty years have allowed the exploration of not only the Moon, but the Solar System and, to an increasing extent, the Universe. Space exploration is becoming more viable. Information from research undertaken in space programs has impacted on society through the development of devices such as personal computers, advanced medical equipment and communication satellites, and has enabled the accurate mapping of natural resources. Space research and exploration increases our understanding of the Earth's own environment, the Solar System and the Universe.

This module increases students' understanding of the history, nature and practice of physics and the implications of physics for society and the environment.