Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Space Archaeology

  • Alice Gorman
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1082


Space archaeology is the study of the material culture associated with space exploration from the twentieth century onwards. This includes terrestrial infrastructure related to the development, manufacturing, operation, and use of space systems, spacecraft and space debris located throughout the solar system and the landing sites of robotic and crewed missions on other planets and celestial bodies. Space archaeology sits within the field known as “archaeology of the contemporary past.”

The era of modern rocketry, which created the first real capacity to break free of Earth’s gravity, had its roots in the amateur rocket societies of the first half of the twentieth century. In World War II (1939–1945), Germany developed missiles capable of reaching other continents and, hence, also capable of reaching space. The V2 rocket drew on the expertise of the amateur rocketeers such as Wernher von Braun, and following the war, a diaspora of German rocket scientists and materials...

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Further Reading

  1. Campbell, J.B. 2009. Developing exoarchaeology in the solar system and beyond, in A. Darrin & B.L. O’Leary (ed.) The handbook of space engineering, archaeology and heritage: 873-886. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
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  3. Darrin, A.G & B.L O‘Leary. 2009 (ed.) Handbook of space engineering, Archaeology and heritage. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  4. Deetz, J. 1967.Invitation to archaeology. Garden City (NY): Natural History Press.Google Scholar
  5. Gorman, A.C. 2009. Heritage of earth orbit: orbital debris – its mitigation and heritage, in A. Darrin & B.L. O’Leary (ed.) The handbook of space engineering, archaeology and heritage: 381-398. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  6. ICOMOS & TICCIH. 2011 Joint ICOMOS – TICCIH principles for the conservation of industrial heritage sites, structures, areas and landscapes. (The Dublin Principles). Available at: http://www.icomos.org/Paris2011/GA2011_ICOMOS_TICCIH_joint_principles_EN_FR_final_20120110.pdf.
  7. O’Leary, B.L. 2006. The cultural heritage of space, the moon and other celestial bodies. Antiquity 80 (307). Available at: http://antiquity.ac.uk/Projgall/oleary/.
  8. -2009. The evolution of space archaeology and heritage, in A. Darrin & B.L. O’Leary (ed.) The handbook of space engineering, archaeology and heritage: 29-48. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  9. NASA. 2011. NASA’s recommendations to space-faring entities: how to protect and preserve the historic and scientific value of US Government lunar artifacts. Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate Strategic Analysis and Integration Division. Available at: http://www.collectspace.com/news/NASA-USG_lunar_historic_sites.pdf.
  10. Spennenmann, D.H.R. 2004 The ethics of treading on Neil Armstrong’s footprints. Space Policy 20: 279–290.Google Scholar
  11. - 2006. Out of this world: issues of managing tourism and humanity’s heritage on the moon. International Journal of Heritage Studies 12: 356-371.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Archaeology, Flinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia