Space exploration

Where can I find information about space exploration?

Image: Backpacking from NASA on The Commons on Flickr.

Entry last updated: 04/06/20

Introduction

Humans have been fascinated with the stars for thousands of years, but were unable to visit space until the 20th century. Space exploration began in 1957 when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite into orbit around earth. Since then there have been thousands of missions into space – both manned and unmanned.

We explore space to understand more about Earth, the solar system, and the universe beyond.

EPIC resources

EPIC is a collection of reliable databases. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions on lots of different topics. The databases below are the best places to look for information on space exploration.

Britannica School

This is the online version of Encyclopaedia Britannica. You can search Britannica School in 3 different reading levels.

  • Choose the Middle level and enter the keywords 'space exploration' into the search box.
  • The first article has great information about the history of space exploration.
  • Find the Images & Videos tab at the top of the page to see more.
Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg [space exploration]. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.

Elementary (Gale In Context)

This database has easy to read information for primary students on science, technology, people, plants and more.

Middle School (Gale in Context)

Here you will find information for intermediate school students on a range of topics related to cultures, geography, government, science, and history.

  • Select Science from the topics on the front page.
  • Then find Space Exploration and Space Race to explore a range of articles, biographies, images and videos on how space has been explored over the years.
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6 pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

General websites

The websites below will explain more about space exploration and how it began.

Topic Explorer

Topic Explorer is an online tool from the National Library of New Zealand. It contains a wide range of resources on a variety of topics. These resources have been selected from reliable national and international sources.

  • Topics are in alphabetical order.
  • Scroll down the page until you find Space Exploration.
  • From the topic page you can filter by media like images, articles and videos etc. For example: under 'articles' you will find an article about the search for life on the Moon.
Tips: We like sites like this because they’re reliable. You can tell because of their web address – they have either .govt or .ac, meaning they are from government or educational organisations. They’re also New Zealand sites, so relevant for us.

NASA

This is the website for The National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The tabs at the top of the page have plenty of information about NASA's past, present, and future journeys into space.

Tips: A website’s address (URL) can give you a hint about how reliable it is. Look for addresses in the results that include .gov or .edu in the URL. These are quality sites from overseas government or educational organisations.

DK Find Out

This website has lots of good information about space.

  • Type the keyword 'space' into the search box.
  • Select the article The Space Race.
  • Select the links for First person in space to find out about Yuri Gagarin, and Laika to find out about the first animal in space.
Tips: Many web pages have links to further information or to other recommended sites. Following these links is a great way to find out more. This searching method is called “pearl growing” because you are picking up pieces of sand to make a beautiful pearl!

Rocket Lab

RocketLab is about New Zealand's involvement in space exploration. This company was founded by New Zealander Robert Beck in 2006, and operates out of New Zealand and the United States of America.

  • If you go to Missions you will find a list of Completed Missions with images and videos on the date of the mission, name of the mission and launch site.
  • Go to Gallery to see more exciting images and videos.
Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Books

Your school library or public library will have lots of books on space exploration.

Here are some suggested titles:

SCIS no: 1964413

managed by
proudly supported by

Acceptable Use

Acceptable use means acting like a good citizen online. How you behave online should be the same as how you behave offline (in the real world). AnyQuestions is a free service, staffed by real people from libraries right around New Zealand. Please be respectful and polite to our librarians. We like helping people who show good manners :)


We may end a chat session if we think you are being inappropriate or misbehaving, this includes:

  • Using racist/sexist, offensive or obscene language.

    Please don’t use mean or cruel words when talking to or about someone else; whether they are a male or female, or of another race or skin colour. Obscene language means using words that would upset your grandparents!

  • Using the service to transmit messages that harass or threaten the operators.

    Please don’t be mean to our librarians or act like a bully.

  • Visiting an objectionable website while in session with an operator.

    An objectionable website means a website that you really wouldn’t want your grandparents looking over your shoulder at!

  • Deliberately time wasting in a way that denies service to other legitimate users.

    Time wasting means being silly and not working with our librarians. Time wasting means other students are not getting help, and that isn’t nice!

  • Any form of vandalism, including damaging computer systems or networks and knowingly introducing programs such as computer viruses and worms.

    You might be technically savvy and know about web viruses and worms and how they affect computers but please don’t spread these. It takes our attention away from helping you and other students.

  • AnyQuestions reserves the right to disconnect users at the operator’s discretion. AnyQuestions might also block access to the service for repeat offenders.

    If you act like a troll then we’ll end the chat. Remember everything digital or online can be traced and we can track it back to where you came from and/or your school. If you misbehave on AnyQuestions then we will be in touch with your school or we will block you from accessing AnyQuestions.