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This question already has an answer here:

This was the Topic of the Week thread for 2013. The current thread is here. Please post new suggestions there!


One of the things that Stack Exchange in general has found effective is to devote a week to a specific topic in which members of the site feel is lacking. For instance, Arquade will frequently have a topic week to discuss a new game coming out, or Science Fiction and Fantasy will ask more questions about Star Wars. They encourage the entire membership to focus asking questions on a particular topic, often with the use of a single tag, especially if we feel like the site should be including more of those types of questions.

I am planning on setting this up, at least for a while, for this site. Each Sunday, one of the mods will pick a highly voted answer to this question for which to select as the topic of the week. This will keep going as long as there is interest, both from the mods and the community as a whole. During that week, we encourage all of the active members to ask at least one question on that specific topic. Do research if you have to. In the end, we will be able to fill out this site, to include things which we don't have enough activity yet.

Please give a single tag per question which you feel is underrated, and give an explanation of that tag to the group, so everyone can understand enough to start asking questions. Linking relevant Wikipedia articles can be of help, or other useful starting points for research. Finally, if you have a request for a specific week, then please include it in your answer. For instance, if there is a significant anniversary, a new launch, flyby, etc, then it seems logical we should have a topic of the week built around that subject.

Topics of the Week

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marked as duplicate by TildalWave Jan 5 '14 at 0:05

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

19 Answers 19

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(used September 29 - October 5, 2013)

Planetary Science- The scientific study of planets, moons, asteroids, comets, and other non-fusing objects. It covers questions relating to geology, atmospheric patterns, chemistry, glacier flow, and many other subjects. It is often accomplished via spacecraft sent to these objects, but some can be accomplished from Earth based observations.

Example Questions:

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Developing Space Programs (used November 3 - Nov 9, 2013)

Brazil (AEB and others), India (ISRO), Iran, Japan (JAXA), China, and Canada (CSA) have really small space programs, and as such we don't get a lot of questions and answers about them here. However, these programs do have a number of operations, and I would like a week to focus on these developing space programs.

Other developing space programs are also on topic, but I suggest we not include NASA (a given), ESA, or Russia's space program. These can be considered more established. Individual European space programs that collaborate with the ESA can be on topic.

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(used December 1 - December 7, 2013)

There are currently 13 questions about propellants. Their chemical composition, specific impulse, use, pros and cons of some of them. But I really like such questions for two specific reasons:

  • They are often fun to answer, leaving much room to approach it from all kinds of various angles
  • They can be just the right amount of broad and specific at the same time

Well, my opinion at least. But they tend to have at least two major components to them (no pun), physical/chemical properties and engineering side of their use. With loads of different propellants, propellant components, and types of engines / nozzles used, they ought to be an endless supply of interesting enough questions.

Resources:

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(used November 17- November 23, 2013)

Mars One is the proposed privately funded one-way trip to Mars, funded by a combination of things including selling the rights to footage, application fees, private donations, and others.

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    $\begingroup$ Could we extend this one to all future manned missions to Mars, planned, proposed, on the drawing board, e.t.c.? $\endgroup$ – TildalWave Oct 31 '13 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ @TildalWave - a lifetime of Mars exploration won't be enough. A good idea, nonetheless. $\endgroup$ – Deer Hunter Oct 31 '13 at 20:23
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    $\begingroup$ @TildalWave: It could be expanded, but let's keep the title simple as Mars One. Other questions certainly wouldn't be closed for not hitting the TOTW;-) $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Nov 8 '13 at 13:58
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(used October 6 - October 12, 2013)

JUNO is a spacecraft on a path towards Jupiter. It will be the first spacecraft to not carry a camera on board on a trip to the Outer Planets, focusing instead on things like measuring gravity, electromagnetic fields, and spectrometers. It will also be the furthest spacecraft to depend solely on Solar Power. It is scheduled for a flyby of Earth on October 9, 2013 on its way to Jupiter. As such, I would like to request that we have its week during the flyby.

Resources:

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(synonym: ) (used October 13 - October 19, 2013)

Space Medicine - The unique medical issues that arise or could arise in the outer space environment (from the unusual factors such as microgravity, increased radiation, etc.) and how they are addressed

Example Questions:

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(used October 27 - November 2, 2013)

The art and science of planning, building, and running colonies on other planets. Currently we have a fair group of questions on the subject, but I think we could do a lot better. Here's a few of my favorites:

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(used November 10- Nov 16, 2013)

Comets are small icy bodies flying through the solar system, in particular through the inner solar system. They are known for their spectacular tails, and can often be seen on a clear night with the naked eye. There will be a close pass of a comet to Mars, the comet ISON, of only 6.5 million miles, on October 1. It's closest approach to the Sun will be Nov 28, making it a good time to have it be a topic of the week.

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, (used October 20 - October 26, 2013)

The Apollo program was the United States' moon program, producing the only US flights to land men on the moon.

Example questions:

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(December 15 - December 21, 2013)

E.g.

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(used November 24- November 30, 2013)

I've noticed we don't have many questions regarding launch facilities at all and there's a lot of hardware that serves all kinds of purposes, from safety to even tourism. Different spaceports throughout the world are quite interesting too, all with their advantages and disadvantages when compared with other launch sites. Some now abandoned launch sites served interesting roles in spaceflight history, and with Russia moving ahead with plans to build the Eastern spaceport (Vostochny Cosmodrome) we might soon have another high traffic one to describe.

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(used December 8 - December 14, 2013)

The study of alien type lifeforms, either on other planets, or life forms that are very different than typical life on Earth. The ultimate goal of Astrobiology is to discover life on another planet, and characterize it. It also assists in knowing how to search for life on other planets, often by studying unusual forms of life on Earth.

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(used December 22 - December 28)

Another bunch of tags we don't have many questions on and it could make for an interesting topic of the week. Where are astronauts of various space agencies trained, for how long, what does that involve, what are the selection processes, how many are selected and how many give up or didn't make it, where are specialist trainings done, training for various launch systems and launchers, what are the requirements to become an astronaut, how does that vary across countries, e.t.c.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm very much in favor of this one. $\endgroup$ – Undo Nov 1 '13 at 3:53
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(used December 29 - January 4)

Questions regarding the manned Soviet spacecraft.

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Anything dealing with a spacecraft instrument.

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Past and future space missions that will or have required multiple launches for a single campaign. Management of multi-launch campaigns, advantages, disadvantages, objectives achieved, failed, and yet to reach. Not to be confused with a launch campaign that is the set of activities which prepare a launch of a single vehicle for lift-off. We would be discussing multiple launch projects, missions or in short, campaigns. For example, the proposed NASA's asteroid-capture mission using two SLS launchers.

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There's many wonderful space exploration related museums around the world with fantastic futuristic ideas that never made it, past mission exhibits, space art, e.t.c. and some might even be selling original era memorabilia and collector's items. With the help of questions about individual museums, their exhibits and other activities we could create a collection of posts to serve as a virtual museum of space exploration.

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We currently have only 16 questions (9, 5, 1, 0 and 1 respectively) tagged in relation to economic exploitation of resources in outer space and celestial bodies. Some of these might need a bit of retagging, since the shows 18 questions, but it still seems a rather small number for a rather significant aspect of space exploration. Additionally, we could combine this with (currently 4 questions), or have that as a separate TOTW, if it feels too broad.

There is more to space mining and harvesting for resources than merely a few individual energents, on Earth rare metals, isotopes, and otherwise valuable resources. It will also likely fuel the boon of the commercial / industrial space exploration era, or make national funded enterprises more economically viable, or even at all possible.

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“Space Art” or “Astronomical Art” is the term for a genre of modern artistic expression that strives to show the wonders of the Universe. Like other genres, Space Art has many facets and encompasses realism, impressionism, hardware art, sculpture, abstract imagery, even zoological art. Though artists have been making art with astronomical elements for a long time, the genre of Space Art itself is still in its infancy, having begun only when humanity gained the ability to look off our world and artistically depicted what we see out there. Whatever the stylistic path, the artist is generally attempting to communicate ideas somehow related to space, often including an appreciation of the infinite variety and vastness which surrounds us. In some cases, artists who consider themselves Space Artists use more than illustration and painting to communicate scientific discoveries or works depicting space, some have had the opportunity to work directly with space flight technology and scientists in attempts to expand the arts, humanities, and cultural expression relative to space exploration Reference: wiki/space_art.

"Space Art(s)" in/at/on ...

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    $\begingroup$ I would suggest the tag be named "art" with a synonym of "space-art" in line with our other "space"-prefixed tags. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Sep 24 '13 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ Not sure it's completely on-topic here. $\endgroup$ – Undo Sep 24 '13 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ @called2voyage In a way, yes. However, "space art" is a rather distinct term at the moment. I would like to handle it as a proper noun for now. $\endgroup$ – s-m-e Sep 24 '13 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ "Space medicine" is also a distinct term. But in the context of this site, the distinction should be clear. $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Sep 24 '13 at 19:32
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    $\begingroup$ @Undo Science and exploration is complimented by art and vice versa, at least in a healthy environment. I am not specifically talking about SF, that's why I listed examples of what I am thinking about. It's art as a natural part of the exploration process of space ... It broadens peoples views on things, that's why I like to propose it as a topic of the week. Not many people would think about it otherwise, so it deserves a chance to be discussed. $\endgroup$ – s-m-e Sep 24 '13 at 19:33
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    $\begingroup$ I think something like artist-rendition might be on topic. Coming up with reasonably accurate artist renditions of extra solar planets, for instance, could potentially be on topic here. Stuff like that. $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Sep 24 '13 at 19:37
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    $\begingroup$ This immediately brought to mind the Moon Museum. $\endgroup$ – Paul A. Clayton Oct 23 '13 at 0:25
  • $\begingroup$ @PaulA.Clayton Thanks Paul, I added it to the list. $\endgroup$ – s-m-e Oct 23 '13 at 17:44

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