act of searching or traveling around a terrain for the purpose of discovery
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Exploration is the act of searching for the purpose of discovery of information or resources. In scientific research, exploration is one of three purposes of empirical research (the other two being description and explanation). The term is often used metaphorically.


  • Imagination is a force that can actually manifest a reality. … Don’t put limitations on yourself. Other people will do that for you. Don’t do that to yourself. Don’t bet against yourself. And take risk. NASA has this phrase that they like, "Failure is not an option." But failure has to be an option. In art and exploration, failure has to be an option. Because it is a leap of faith. And no important endeavour that required innovation was done without risk. You have to be willing to take those risks. … In whatever you are doing, failure is an option. But fear is not.
  • All explorers are seeking something they have lost. It is seldom that they find it, and more seldom still that the attainment brings them greater happiness than the quest.
  • What is a scientist after all? It is a curious man looking through a keyhole, the keyhole of nature, trying to know what’s going on.
  • We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.
    • T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding," last stanza, Collected Poems, 1909–1962, p. 208 (1963). Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara was asked what major changes he would have made in United States policies in Vietnam during the previous week. He responded it was not yet an appropriate time to be talking with hindsight and then quoted the lines above to answer the question.—"Meet the Press" television program, February 4, 1968, transcript, p. 15.
  • Explore, and explore, and explore. Be neither chided nor flattered out of your position of perpetual inquiry. Neither dogmatise yourself, nor accept another's dogmatism. Why should you renounce your right to traverse the star-lit deserts of truth, for the premature comforts of an acre, house, and barn? Truth also has its roof, and bed, and board. Make yourself necessary to the world, and mankind will give you bread, and if not store of it, yet such as shall not take away your property in all men's possessions, in all men's affections, in art, in nature, and in hope.
  • Πάντα κινῆσαι πέτρον
    • Leave no stone unturned.
      • Euripides Heraclidæ lyrics 983-1017 (c 428 BC).
  • If we define Futurism as an exploration beyond accepted limits, then the nature of limiting systems becomes the first object of exploration.
    • Frank Herbert, "Doll Factory, Gun Factory" (1973), essay reprinted in The Maker of Dune: Insights of a Master of Science Fiction (1987), edited by Tim O'Reilly
  • The explorers of the past were great men and we should honour them. But let us not forget that their spirit lives on. It is still not hard to find a man who will adventure for the sake of a dream or one who will search, for the pleasure of searching, not for what he may find.
  • Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.
    • Edwin Hubble, "The Exploration of Space". Harper's Magazine 158: 732. (May 1929)
  • We are beginning to realize that even the most fortunate people are living far below capacity, and that most human beings develop not more than a small fraction of their potential mental and spiritual efficiency. The human race, in fact, is surrounded by a large area of unrealized possibilities, a challenge to the spirit of exploration.
    • Julian Huxley, "Transhumanism" in New Bottles for New Wine (1957) p. 13 - 17
  • The zestful but scientific exploration of possibilities and of the techniques for realizing them will make our hopes rational, and will set our ideals within the framework of reality, by showing how much of them are indeed realizable.
    • Julian Huxley, "Transhumanism" in New Bottles for New Wine (1957) p. 13 - 17
  • Important lessons about our environment have come from spacecraft missions to the planets. By exploring other worlds we safeguard this one. By itself, I think this fact more than justifies the money our species has spent in sending ships to other worlds. It is our fate to live during one of the most perilous and, at the same time, one of the most hopeful chapters in human history. Our science and our technology have posed us a profound question. Will we learn to use these tools with wisdom and foresight before it's too late? Will we see our species safely through this difficult passage so that our children and grandchildren will continue the great journey of discovery still deeper into the mysteries of the Cosmos? That same rocket and nuclear and computer technology that sends our ships past the farthest known planet can also be used to destroy our global civilization. Exactly the same technology can be used for good and for evil. It is as if there were a God who said to us, “I set before you two ways: You can use your technology to destroy yourselves or to carry you to the planets and the stars. It's up to you.”
  • It has now become clear that the exploration of the Universe, as conducted by physicists, astronomers and cosmologists, is one of the greatest intellectual adventures of the mid-twentieth century.
  • That may be the most important thing to understand about humans. It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching, not just for answers to our questions, but for new questions. We are explorers. We explore our lives day by day, and we explore the galaxy trying to expand the boundaries of our knowledge. And that is why I am here: not to conquer you with weapons or ideas, but to coexist and learn.
  • And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual.
  • The exploration of oneself is usually also an exploration of the world at large, of other writers, a process of comparison with oneself with others, discoveries of kinships, gradual illumination of one's own potentialities.
  • I shall be a baronet, you will be knighted and my old horse will be stuffed and put into a glass case and sent to the British Museum.
    • Edward Hargraves on his discovery of gold that led to the Australian gold rush. 12 February 1851. Edward Hargraves, Australia and its goldfields, H. Ingram, 1855.

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