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.
Distorted galaxy NGC 2442 can be found in the southern constellation of the flying fish, (Piscis) Volans. Located about 50 million light-years away, the galaxy's two spiral arms extending from a pronounced central bar give it a hook-shaped appearance in this deep colorful image, with spiky foreground stars scattered across the telescopic field of view. The image also reveals the distant galaxy's obscuring dust lanes, young blue star clusters and reddish star forming regions surrounding a core of yellowish light from an older population of stars. But the star forming regions seem more concentrated along the drawn-out (upper right) spiral arm. The distorted structure is likely the result of an ancient close encounter with the smaller galaxy seen near the top left of the frame. The two interacting galaxies are separated by about 150,000 light-years at the estimated distance of NGC 2442.
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!