Questions tagged [space-exploration]

Space Exploration is the idea of traveling through space, beyond a home planet's orbit to discover things unknown to the explorer. Use this tag for questions about space exploration in science fiction or fantasy, not for real life questions. For real life questions, visit our sister site Space Exploration at space.stackexchange.com.

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85 votes
2 answers
6k views

Short story where human explorers accidentally blind an alien race

I read a short story (probably 20 years ago) about a human scientific expedition that arrives at an alien planet. The planet is covered by a thick cloud layer and orbits a dim red star. The humans ...
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64 votes
3 answers
4k views

Trying to identify "I will measure the dust" story

I have a distant memory of a story which involves a person conversing with an intelligent space probe before it's launched on a long-term mission. As I recall it, their conversation goes something ...
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44 votes
13 answers
50k views

Why doesn't Voyager in Star Trek go above the galactic plane to get back home?

Related to Why do Star Trek vessels always approach each other on parallel planes?, but on a larger scale. The premise of Star Trek: Voyager is that the ship Voyager is stranded from Earth on the ...
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  • 730
44 votes
2 answers
8k views

In The Martian, how were the crew in the Hermes shielded from radiation?

I have not read the book of The Martian, but there was one glaring omission in the movie that struck me. How were the crew in the Hermes protected from radiation? In space, especially ...
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43 votes
4 answers
10k views

Why didn't Jupiter becoming a star kill everyone on earth and cause all kinds of problems for the solar system?

In 2010: The Year We Make Contact, the climax of the film is quite bizarre. Jupiter's mass is replaced by billions of black monoliths, eventually collapsing in on itself and becoming a star. ...
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38 votes
3 answers
2k views

Story about space travelers who stumble across an alien civilization only to realize it is heaven and God has gone insane

Does anyone know what book or series I am thinking of? Honestly, this may be a movie, a book, a short story, etc. I can't quite remember. I just remember someone describing a story in which space ...
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  • 481
36 votes
1 answer
5k views

Short story about interstellar travel gone wrong

Trying to find a story I read a couple of years ago in an anthology, not sure when the story dates from but likely to be recent - the last decade or so. The story has passengers travelling between ...
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  • 343
29 votes
1 answer
2k views

1980s or earlier sci-fi short story where a planet is calling to a woman and she becomes an astronaut to travel there

The story I'm looking for had a female protagonist, a young girl (unattractive and unloved) whose ambition is to become an astronaut and travel to the stars. There is a particular planet that is "...
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  • 401
28 votes
1 answer
3k views

Short Story About How 2 Astronauts Who Stop for Lunch Unknowingly Destroy the Only Lifeform on an Arid Planet

In the 70's or 80's I read a short story in which 2 astronauts looking for a nice place to eat lunch choose a spot at the pole of a small desolate planet, overlooking the world's only pool of surface ...
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27 votes
2 answers
672 views

Did Any SF Stories Predict a Televised Moon Landing?

I've read that even with all the SF stories written about the first landing on the Moon, not a single one written before the Apollo missions were planned ever had any hint that the first landing would ...
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26 votes
1 answer
2k views

Anyone know this science fiction story about a sentient space suit?

Does anyone know the title or author of a story where a lone spaceman is walking across lunar surface in a suit that has sentience. The story skilfully teases the reader into believing the spaceman is ...
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  • 261
24 votes
2 answers
2k views

Golden Age SF short story about first contact, and a different kind of hyperspace

I've been trying to find a certain "golden age" short sci-fi story for days and it's driving me crazy. Here's what I can remember: first contact with humans and an alien scoutship from a galactic ...
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  • 2,878
24 votes
1 answer
3k views

Short comic about alien explorers visiting an abandoned world with giant statues that turn out to be alive but move very slowly

A sci-fi short story, probably part of a comic sci-fi/horror anthology. I remember seeing it when I was 13, but still remember the twist ending clearly. Judging from the artwork, something around 60'...
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  • 241
22 votes
1 answer
2k views

Story about spacecraft crew losing consciousness as they get farther from Earth

I'm trying to recall a sci-fi short story that I once read, about a spacecraft that's attempting to travel farther from Earth than anyone ever has before. As it gets farther away, the crew start to ...
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  • 5,185
20 votes
1 answer
4k views

Book where a space ship journeys to the center of the galaxy to find all the stars had gone supernova

Looking for the book where a space ship made from a giant atomic atom journeys to the center of the galaxy only to find all the stars had gone supernova. A, Clark-Card-Heinlien-Bova?
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  • 335
20 votes
1 answer
326 views

Novel: Earth fights galaxy-wide empire, loses, gets one seat in galactic senate/parliament

Read this novel circa late 1950s. Plot as follows from vague and imperfect memory. Earth is expanding into near stellar neighborhood. Finds planet that once held a now-vanished civilization, but which ...
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  • 201
19 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story- crashed pilot must run/jump around a small planet to catch the sun and charge her life supporting suit

I'm looking for a short sci-fi story of a pilot who crashed with her spaceship on a small, low gravitate planet or asteroid. In order to survive she must run/jump around it to catch the sun and power ...
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  • 193
19 votes
1 answer
640 views

Short story about a woman who is about to leave on an interstellar trip to search for non-human intelligence

I read this short story years -- decades -- ago. A young woman is spending her last day at home before joining an interstellar expedition to search for non-human intelligence. She lives on a sheep ...
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  • 4,605
17 votes
2 answers
579 views

Archeologists exploring dead planet find room where they commited suicide by asphyxiation

I am trying to find the title of a science fiction book/story that I read many years ago (about 40!). All that I can remember is that it involved explorers (I think they may have been archaeologists) ...
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  • 179
17 votes
1 answer
794 views

Short story about aliens trading for hydroponics

I am looking for information on a short story that was written probably in the late 60's early 70's. This was part of a short story collection; I can't be certain but it was possibly edited by Groff ...
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  • 173
17 votes
2 answers
2k views

Trying to find name of a short story about astronauts missing the second coming of Jesus on earth

I remember reading about this short story where a group of astronauts are travelling close to the speed of light to a nearby star. When they return to Earth several years later after completing their ...
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  • 173
17 votes
1 answer
1k views

The Target who shot back: old sci-fi short story

This should be an easier one; I remember this one fairly clearly. Years ago I read a story where a team of explorers are exploring a planet. They have a mother ship as home base, and the mission is ...
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16 votes
2 answers
939 views

Planet with hexagons with either magic or technology

I read a good book a while ago and can't remember the title. It is the story of people stuck on a planet made of hexagons, where the level of technology is set depending on the type of hexagon. Some ...
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  • 161
16 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story where interplanetary explorers find a strange planet that's weirdly suited for human life

I recall reading the story in a book that was part of a larger award anthology. The plot revolved around a small team of scientists (3-5) exploring planets searching for those potentially suitable for ...
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16 votes
1 answer
2k views

Story by Marion Zimmer Bradley about a damaged spaceship that took 75 years to repair [duplicate]

For once, I'm asking for help in identifying a story I've never actually read. Many years ago, I read an essay by Marion Zimmer Bradley in which she talked about a story she wrote, fairly early in her ...
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16 votes
2 answers
1k views

What book has tall transparent cylindrical column-shaped aliens defending massive mega-structures?

I registered to ask for some help identifying a book. It was likely the very first space opera / science fiction novel I read, but I was a pre-teen/early teen exploring my older siblings' bookshelves ...
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16 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story involving survival on a small asteroid; people stranded on it must keep off 'day' side

I have a strong recollection of reading a short story as a kid in the 1980's - 90's about a couple of guys (kids, maybe) that were stranded on an asteroid or moon after some disaster and needed to ...
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15 votes
2 answers
2k views

Space exploration/RPG PC game where humanity is trapped in a space bubble

I've been trying to find a PC game that I played a demo for back in the early 90s (give or take). It was a space exploration/RPG with sprite graphics and I think a top-down perspective. You fly ...
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15 votes
1 answer
747 views

Short story about discovering planet inhabited by self-organising, metallic, swarming creatures

The plot: explorers find a planet, it has lots of metallic structures that exhibit regularity and pattern, but apparently nothing living. The explorers feel very secure - they have lots of force-...
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  • 253
15 votes
1 answer
858 views

A novel about humans on a water planet who used iron-wings made from a ruined settler ship

Some time ago, I borrowed a book from my father. It was about a water planet with huge storms and deadly monsters. There were a few islands where people could live. They moved between islands using ...
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  • 153
15 votes
1 answer
775 views

Novel - Accidental exploration ship, broadcasts a TV show to let people know what they find

Probably from the 70s or earlier. Paperback in English. Space craft with a new drive that should be able to travel to other planets in solar system almost instantly, is over budget and behind ...
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  • 9,053
15 votes
3 answers
2k views

I'm looking for a sci fi book with a tribal woman, hermaphrodites, and implanting minds into new bodies

I read a sci fi book roughly 20 years ago (late nineties) but for the life of me I cannot remember the title nor locate the book on Amazon or elsewhere online. I don't know when the book was actually ...
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14 votes
6 answers
3k views

What is the meaning of the ending of "A Darkling Sea" by James Cambias?

I just finished reading A Darkling Sea. It was amazing. But my mind goes totally blank trying to interpret the ending. The following excerpts from the ending explain what the object is: ...and... ...
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  • 243
14 votes
2 answers
1k views

Short Story pre-1987: main character is Voyager-style space probe

I think I read this c. 1987. It would've been in a paperback SF short fiction anthology, likely with other stories by more famous authors (Heinlein, Asimov, the usual suspects). As I recall, the name ...
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  • 793
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story about astronauts being killed one by one by a non-corporeal alien entity on a deserted planet

This science fiction short story is about a team of astronauts/space explorers who land on an alien planet. An alien entity, that exists in a gaseous state, is lurking at the bottom of a well or hole. ...
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14 votes
1 answer
2k views

Story about human space explorers who run into alien telepath space crew

I read a short story in an anthology around 1998 (the book could have been older than that) which went like this - A human space exploration scientific crew is exploring an alient planet (peaceful ...
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14 votes
1 answer
785 views

Book about a killer planet where only plastic weapons can be used

I'm looking for a book I read as a kid in high school. All I remember of it is: 2 characters (possibly male and female) travel to a "killer" planet where no metal can be present so take only plastic ...
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14 votes
1 answer
623 views

A spaceship saved by a teen who realizes destination planet is surrounded by electromagnetic field

I'm looking for an old book, more than 40 years old, almost certainly a lot older, about spaceship heading to some planet, I believe it is Venus. The previous ships have not been heard from after ...
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14 votes
1 answer
345 views

Titles/author of book series on civilization destroying wave sweeping the galaxy

I read this book over 5 years ago, borrowed from a friend, but I believe it is quite a bit older. A spaceship finds several planets where advanced civilizations have collapsed fairly suddenly, and ...
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  • 141
13 votes
5 answers
2k views

Book or short story about an empty city with deadly traps

Many years ago I read a book or story where a group of people discover a dark city - maybe on another planet - which appears devoid of life but is in very good condition. As they gradually explore the ...
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  • 701
13 votes
2 answers
804 views

explorers unwilling to return [duplicate]

Unusually for such a request, I think I know the title: “The Deserter”. Trouble is that ISFDB lists seven short stories with that title. Setting is one of the cold planets. To explore it, people ...
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13 votes
6 answers
19k views

Was the time dilation caused by Miller's planet or the close proximity to the Gargantua black hole?

In the movie Interstellar, is the time dilation the team suffers on the water planet Miller caused by the proximity of the planet to Gargantua or by the planet's gravitational pull? In the beginning ...
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  • 827
13 votes
1 answer
2k views

Story about a man and an alien exploring an alien world

I think the story took place on Mars, and it had a feel like Eric Frank Russell or someone similar. The story starts with the man reporting on his return to base to explain the adventure he just went ...
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13 votes
1 answer
2k views

Can someone help me figure out the name of a sci-fi book about space travel at the speed of light? [duplicate]

I read this book when I was much younger and can't remember the name of it but I remember it's one of the best books I've ever read. It starts with this young girl that bumps into an older lady, the ...
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  • 133
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

Sci-Fi story about people traveling through space in confined spaces then fighting once returning planet side

The story was more or less about 2 people being in space for a long period of time in a small space. They had been living like this for either many months to possibly even years. Towards the end of ...
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12 votes
1 answer
837 views

Science fiction short story where explorers land on planet inhabited by humanoids who eat algae

A short story where: Two explorers land on a planet which has almost nothing except barren ground, oceans covered with thick algae, and humanoids whose only food source is the algae. Since there is ...
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  • 223
12 votes
2 answers
630 views

Novel where “sub-standard” humans are sent to perform space exploration

When I was in my early teens, I read a science fiction novel I have since lost track of, and can remember neither the title nor the author. I can remember only a few details about the novel, but ...
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12 votes
1 answer
261 views

Which sci-fi movie/episode had bleeding rocks on a planet?

I'm trying to find a long lost movie/series that I saw as a child in the 80s. The only scenes I can remember is that they are on a planet with no vegetation, only dust and rocks. When using their ...
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12 votes
1 answer
117 views

1960's-1970's (possibly older) sci-fi story about a man stuck on a inhabited planet with a twist [duplicate]

The story was about a man who crashed on a uninhabited planet and was wandering around for few years looking for another crashed spaceship to use its parts to repair his spaceship. He had a small ...
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12 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story about rocks that taught kids to bounce

In a collection of short sci-fi stories, I read one where two sibling hated their parents always being away on scientific expeditions to other planets. One day, they decided to stow away on their ...
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