Space Travel Might Not Be For Us

Kierstynn Bush & Zakkary Gaston

Is Space Travel For Us?

The Russian rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky wrote that humans will eventually travel to and inhabit space beyond Earth. He said, “Earth is humanity’s cradle, but you’re not meant to stay in your cradle forever.”

The Main Problem...

The main problem with interstellar travel is the sheer size of the universe. Its size was not known when people first imagined we would go to the stars. Tau Ceti, one of the closest stars to us, is 100 billion times farther from Earth than our moon. We can’t simply send people over such immense distances in a spaceship, because a spaceship is too poor an environment to support humans for the centuries it would take. Instead of a spaceship, we would have to create some kind of space-traveling ark. The ark would need to be big enough to support a community of humans and other plants and animals in a fully recycling ecological system.

The Ark Experiment


Another problem is the effects on our microbiomes. About eighty percent of the DNA in our bodies is not human DNA, but the DNA of smaller creatures, called microbes. Together they make up a system in the human body called a microbiome. Our microbiome has to be balanced for us to be healthy. The microbiome system co-evolved on Earth in a particular set of physical influences, including Earth’s gravity, atmosphere and chemical make-up. Traveling to the stars means leaving all these influences, and trying to replace them artificially without knowing what might happen. Any ark would therefore be an experiment, its inhabitants lab animals. The first generation of the humans aboard might have volunteered to be experimental subjects, but their descendants would not have. These generations of descendants would be born into a set of rooms a trillion times smaller than Earth, with no chance of escape.

Success Would Be Extremely Unlikely

An interstellar voyage would present on set of extremely difficult problems, and the arrival in another system, a different set of problems. All the problems accounted for the interstellar voyage would be nearly impossible. Majority of space voyages end in disaster or have many problems along the way, causing extreme difficulty. Pursuing the project would require many preconditions before it was undertaken. First, there would need to be a sustainable human civilization on Earth itself to teach us many of the things we would need to know to construct a viable ark. Second, there would need to be a great deal of practice in an ark orbiting our sun, where we could make repairs and study the ark. Third, there would need to be robotic explorations of nearby planetary systems, to see if any are suitable candidates for in-habitation.
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Unless all the above steps are taken, humans cannot successfully travel to and inhabit other star systems. The most important step is the first, which is to create a sustainable long-term civilization on Earth. If we do not create sustainability on our own world, there is no planet B
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Important Vocabualry

  • Air- A mixture of gases that surrounds the Earth
  • Asteroids- Large rocky objects or very small planets
  • Comet- A giant ball of rock and ice
  • Dwarf Planet- A small round planet that orbits the Sun
  • Gravity- A force that pulls two objects together
  • International Space Station- A huge laboratory floating in space high above Earth.

Main Idea

To tell if space travel is for us or not.

Authors Purpose

To tell the readers (us) about space travel and the complications that come with space travel.