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Thread: Intergalactic, interstellar, interplanetary, inter- what?

  1. #1
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    Nov 2004
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    Intergalactic, interstellar, interplanetary, inter- what?

    Is there an adjective to describe the space we've actually been to? It seems odd that we haven't come up with one yet.. I've heard "cislunar" but that technically includes Earth's surface.
    "Occam" is the name of the alien race that will enslave us all eventually. And they've got razors for hands. I don't know if that's true but it seems like the simplest answer."

    Stephen Colbert.

  2. #2
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    There are technical differences in the contents of the space described by [interplanetary, interstellar, intergalactic, intercluster], the difference has to do with density, energy, dust content, and composition. Interplanetary space is dominated by solar wind and is somewhat protected from cosmic rays (for example). Once a probe leaves the outer reaches of the Earth's atmosphere, and the Van Allen Belts, then it is in interplanetary space. Cislunar is a good word for proximity to be more specific than interplanetary, but that is more about access than it is about the composition of space. It sounds like you are asking for a term that isn't about composition, but rather about history. Why not use "Explored Space" to cover that.
    Forming opinions as we speak

  3. #3
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    Jul 2005
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    I don't think I've ever seen a definition of cislunar that includes the Earth's surface. "Between the Earth and the moon (or moon's orbit)" is the usual. But once you add "space" (as you do with intergalactic, interstellar, etc.), it seems clear that the Earth's surface and atmosphere are not included.

    Grant Hutchison

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