Caught in the NYT Science Times of 4/30/13 (p. 2), in a note by Jennifer A. Kingston on “Animals Aloft”:

One alluring detail: NASA scientists will be studying sperm motiity in the spacefaring mice to try to figure out if humans could successfully procreate on a long space voyage.

It’s the adjective spacefaring: instantly understandable (based on seafaring — another case of terminology from sea travel extended metaphorically to air or space travel), but not a usage I recall having seen before. However, there’s a Wikipedia article on it, and the OED tells me that it’s been around about as long as I have.

From OED3 (Sept. 2008):

n. Space travel. [cites from 1942, 1959, and 1978 from science fiction, then: 2004  Discover Nov. 21/1   Will Cosmos 1 stimulate private spacefaring?]

adj. That engages in space travel. [cites from 1952 (in science fiction), and in science writing from 1962, 1973, and 2002]

The Recency Illusion is always with us.


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