Space exploration is the use of astronomy and space technology to explore outer space. While the exploration of space is carried out mainly by astronomers with telescopes, its physical exploration though is conducted both by unmanned robotic space probes and human spaceflight. Space exploration, like its classical form astronomy, is one of the main sources for space science.
A camera on board the uncrewed Orion spacecraft captured this view on December 5 as Orion approached its return powered flyby of the Moon. Below one of Orion's extended solar arrays lies dark, smooth, terrain along the western edge of the Oceanus Procellarum. Prominent on the lunar nearside Oceanus Procellarum, the Ocean of Storms, is the largest of the Moon's lava-flooded maria. The lunar terminator, shadow line between lunar night and day, runs along the left of the frame. The 41 kilometer diameter crater Marius is top center, with ray crater Kepler peeking in at the edge, just right of the solar array wing. Kepler's bright rays extend to the north and west, reaching the dark-floored Marius. Of course the Orion spacecraft is now headed toward a December 11 splashdown in planet Earth's water-flooded Pacific Ocean.
I've been fascinated by space exploration since a child growing up in the 70s and 80s. NASA's shuttle program was one of my early passions to research and study. Back in the 80s, NASA would send out large information packets to those who requested them through the mail. I requested my fair share growing up and would spend hours pouring through the information that they sent. Today, I am still very much interested in what lies beyond our planet and solar system!