"Space--the final frontier." This preamble to a well-known television series captures the challenge encountered not only in space travel adventures, but also in the field of porous materials, which aims to control the size, shape and uniformity of the porous space and the atoms and molecules that define it. The past decade has seen significant advances in the ability to fabricate new porous solids with ordered structures from a wide range of different materials. This has resulted in materials with unusual properties and broadened their application range beyond the traditional use as catalysts and adsorbents. In fact, porous materials now seem set to contribute to developments in areas ranging from microelectronics to medical diagnosis.