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Ad astra is a Latin phrase meaning "to the stars". The phrase has origins with Virgil, who wrote sic itur ad astra ("thus one journeys to the stars", from Aeneid book IX, line 641, spoken by Apollo to Aeneas's young son Iulus) and opta ardua pennis astra sequi ("desire to pursue the high (or hard to reach) stars on wings" book XII, lines 892–893, spoken by Aeneas to his foe Turnus in their combat). Another origin is Seneca the Younger, who wrote non est ad astra mollis e terris via ("there is no easy way from the earth to the stars", Hercules Furens, line 437, spoken by Megara, Hercules' wife).
Ad is a Latin preposition expressing direction toward in space or time, e.g. ad nauseam, ad infinitum, ad hoc, ad libidem, ad valorem, ad hominem. It is also used as a prefix in Latin word formation.
It is used as, or as part of, the motto of many organizations, most prominently, many air forces. It has also been adopted as a proper name for various unrelated things (publications, bands, games, etc.). It also sees general use as a popular Latin tag.
- Ad Astra Rocket Company, Webster, Texas, United States
- Motto of Astor family
- Ad Astra, Short story by William Faulkner
- Innova Junior College, Singapore
- Presbyterian Ladies' College, Armidale, Australia
- United States Air Force Academy Class of 2007
- United States Coast Guard Academy Class of 1992
- USS Taurus (PHM-3)
Ad astra per alas porci
"To the stars on the wings of a pig"
- Motto on John Steinbeck's personal stamp, featuring a figure of the Pigasus
- Title of Chris Thile's Mandolin Concerto.
Ad astra per aspera
"To the stars through difficulties" or commonly translated "a rough road leads to the stars"; also translated as "Through hardships, to the stars".
- Albury High School in Albury, New South Wales, Australia
- Apollo 1 memorial placed at Launch Complex 34
- Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina
- Immaculate Conception High School in Saint Andrew Parish, Jamaica, West Indies
- Kansas (U.S. state)
- Morristown-Beard School in Morristown, New Jersey
- Mount Saint Michael Academy in The Bronx, New York
- Starfleet, the fictional organization in the Star Trek universe
- Woodville High School, South Australia
De profundis ad astra
"From the depths to the stars".
- Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society The official motto of the world's oldest continually operating science fiction fan social club, founded in 1934.
Per ardua ad astra
"Through adversity to the stars" or "Through struggle to the stars"
- Royal Air Force
- Royal Australian Air Force
- Royal Canadian Air Force (prior to 1968)
- Royal Flying Corps
- Royal New Zealand Air Force
- Air Operations Branch of the Canadian Armed Forces
Per aspera ad astra
"Through hardships to the stars" or "To the stars through difficulties".
- Queenwood School for Girls, Sydney, Australia
- Saint Patrick's High School, Karachi
- South African Air Force
- Stevens Institute of Technology
Per audacia ad astra
"Through boldness to the stars"
Quam celerrime ad astra
"speedily to the stars"
Sic itur ad astra
"Thus one goes to the stars"
- The Canongate, Edinburgh
- Admiral Collingwood Lodge, Australia
- Richmond, Virginia (city)
- Argentine Air Force, Materiel Command, Argentina
- The Geelong College, Australia
- Canadian Air Force (1920–24)
- Colombian Air Force
- 48 Air School in Woodbridge East London, one of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan facilities in South Africa. Other units had ”Ad Unum Ad Astra” and ”Per Artem Ad Astra”.
"Such is the pathway to the stars"
"Reach for the stars"
- The Hertfordshire and Essex High School, Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, England
- Falcon College, Zimbabwe
- A related phrase, ex astris ("from the stars"), is used frequently in NASA publications and in science fiction—see Ex astris, scientia.
- There was a 1984 computer game called Ad Astra which was an outer space shoot-em-up with a 3-D perspective.
- It is also a title of a William Faulkner short story—see Collected Stories of William Faulkner (New York: Vintage International).
- Ad Astra is a public artwork by American artist Richard Lippold. Lippold's sculpture is located outside on the Jefferson Drive entrance of and in the collection of the National Air and Space Museum.
- Ad Astra is the title of a 2019 science fiction film starring Brad Pitt.
- Harper, Douglas. "ad". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
- Harper, Douglas. "astra". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
- Fox-Davies, Arthur Charles (1929). Armorial Families: a Directory of Gentleman of Coat-Armour. Hurst & Blackett. p. 58. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
- "Pigasus". Steinbeck Center.
- LASFS Coat of Arms
- Ad Astra at the World of Spectrum
- History of the RAF motto (but note that this page misspells sic itur)