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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.

81
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2answers
4k 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 ...
61
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
43
votes
13answers
41k 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 ...
42
votes
2answers
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 ...
42
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4answers
9k 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. ...
36
votes
3answers
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 ...
35
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
26
votes
1answer
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 ...
26
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1answer
1k 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
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 ...
20
votes
1answer
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?
19
votes
1answer
434 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Name of a Sci-Fi Book, where humanity is rebuilt on a new planet, after being wiped out [duplicate]

Between 2005-2008, I entered a Barnes and Noble and came across a book in the New Releases section that I regretted not purchasing. I remember only the following from the back-panel summary of the ...
16
votes
2answers
389 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) ...
16
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
641 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-...
15
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
797 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
210 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
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 ...
15
votes
2answers
840 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
2k 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... ...
14
votes
2answers
922 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
740 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
665 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
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 ...
14
votes
1answer
738 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
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 ...
13
votes
1answer
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 ...
12
votes
6answers
17k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
972 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. ...
12
votes
1answer
178 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
292 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
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 ...
12
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
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 ...
11
votes
2answers
431 views

How long ago could we have gone to Mars? [closed]

In the online show Pioneer One, part of the premise is that decades ago the USSR sent a secret expedition to Mars. Setting aside the problems of keeping such a feat a secret for decades, this seems ...
11
votes
1answer
583 views

Aliens psych test humans before allowing them to settle

I read a book many years ago, in the early 90s, but published earlier, and I'm trying to find it again. The story started out with aliens contacting the earth and leaving several devices that ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Science fiction story or novel where alien plant erupts from under ice

I was told about a science fiction story in which humans have landed on an ice-covered planet or moon and a gigantic plantlike organism bursts out from under the ice due to the humans' lights ...
10
votes
1answer
398 views

Book ID: Astronauts and Lab Students can create portals through space

Desperate to locate and re-read exceptional book/series, but cannot remember the title. The high concept: The U.S. has just sent the first successful expedition to Mars, and it has just landed. ...
10
votes
1answer
389 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
566 views

Humanity meeting another similar intelligent life form deep into space (or not)?

I'm looking for a plot line (it should be a short story) that depicts Earth population (or their close descendants) establishing contact with another intelligent life form deep into space. After ...
10
votes
2answers
464 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
642 views

Short story about exobiology during human exploration of an alien planet

I have read a story long ago, where some explorers of an alien planet take an animal and use it like a boat (with a description similar to a very large Victoria. Eventually, they have serious ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

What 80s/90s cartoon had a girl with a koala, and a father trapped in a bubble in another world?

All I remember are very vague details, probably 25 years ago or so. A young girl (blonde?) is in search of her father who seems to be lost in another world of sorts. I believe he is in a bubble, and ...
10
votes
1answer
504 views

Lost SF Short-Story, Solitary Human Explorer, too powerful to act. Alien POV

This is ultimately a rather dark story. It involves a solitary human explorer on an alien planet. The human has an alien as an assistant, or he is helping the alien to travel somewhere through tunnels....
10
votes
1answer
228 views

60's or early 70's movie with a man and a women left behind on a planet

I saw only the last part of this movie years ago. A spaceship lands on a planet that has a hostile environment (volcanoes, dinosaurs) and the ship must leave. Two of the crew get left behind, one man ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Wouldn't the Ascension have reached a Rubicon point before ~51 years into the journey?

In the SyFy mini-series Ascension, as one of the plot points reference is made to the Ascension space ship reaching a "Rubicon Point" at which it will take more resources to return to Earth as opposed ...
10
votes
0answers
219 views

Novel with boy space traveler and his alien buddy

I read this book probably 5-6 years ago. The main plot was about a boy who travels through space to individual planets with an alien buddy of his or something like that. I remember that they lived in ...
9
votes
1answer
488 views

Old book about space travel c. 1930-1960

It was technically a nonfiction book hardbound about space travel, but the author suggested a lot of imaginative little science fiction stories. I read it during the 1960s so it was at least that old,...