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Would You Take a Trip to Space?

Ordinary people might soon be able to shoot into space. Is this a dream come true—or a disaster waiting to happen? 

3. . . 2 . . . 1 . . . blastoff! With a burst of rocket fire, you rush toward the sky. The spaceship rattles like the bumpiest roller-coaster ride ever. As you speed faster and faster, it feels like a giant hand is pressing you into your seat.

Then the rocket engine shuts off . . . and you’re instantly weightless. Unbuckling your seat belt, you float around the ship. Through the window, Earth looks like a watery marble hovering in the darkness of space.

Usually, astronauts study and train for years before they get this experience. But regular people might travel to space as soon as this year.

Some rocket companies are letting any adult buy a spot on a future space trip. And NASA, the government space agency, will soon let people visit the International Space Station—a science lab that circles high above Earth.

But you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to wonder: Are space vacations a good idea?

The Trip of a Lifetime

Space travel would be an out-of-this-world opportunity. So far, only about 600 humans have visited space. You’d join a small club of people who’ve done something truly extraordinary.

It would also be fun. Gravity—the natural force keeping you on the ground—mostly disappears in space. You could do spectacular midair somersaults that would make any gymnast jealous.

And the view! It’d be unbeatable. How cool would it be to take a selfie with the whole planet?

You’re not the only one who thinks this would be the trip of a lifetime. Hundreds of people have already reserved spots on future trips, including Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Justin Bieber. Who knows—maybe one of these superstars would be your spaceshipmate!

Just Not Worth It 

OK, come back to Earth. Space travel might not be as thrilling as it sounds.

First of all, it’s expensive. The cheapest ticket is $250,000—for just a few minutes in space! And that space station visit? It will cost almost $60 million. You could take thousands of amazing Earth vacations with that cash.

Plus, just because space travel is expensive doesn’t mean it’s comfortable. You’d be crammed into a small cabin. And having no gravity would make daily activities tricky. Imagine eating lunch while your food tumbles through the air. Some astronauts even strap themselves to the toilet so they don’t drift away mid-pee. Ew!

Finally, space travel can be dangerous. Even a tiny problem with a ship can cause a serious accident. And mistakes do happen. Nearly 20 astronauts have died on space missions since the 1960s.

So, what do you think? Would you rather shoot for the stars or stay on Earth? 

Continue the Learning Journey

Would you want to take a trip to space? Why or why not? Think about your opinion on this topic and make a list of the pros and cons of space travel. Then discuss the topic with your friends or family. What do they think?

Imagine it’s 100 years from now and space vacations are the most popular family destination! What fun activities would be available in space? Make a list of five activities for space travelers and write down the price for each. (Remember: It costs at least $250,000 just to launch into space!) Then have a family member or friend choose three activities. How much would their space vacation cost?

Pretend you are launching into space! You can use chairs as the seats of your rocket. Act out your reactions as you strap yourself in, get ready for liftoff, and GO! Once you’ve entered space, get out of your seat and pretend that you’re weightless. What does it feel like? Don’t forget to take a selfie that shows off your amazing view from space!

Create a Constellation

Follow these steps to make your own starry view. 

You don’t have to go to space to enjoy the stars! Click on the slideshow above to learn how to create your own miniature constellation, or group of stars.

This article was written by Talia Cowen for Storyworks magazine.

Image Credits: Carolyn Risdale (Astronaut and rocket); Zakharchuk/ (Background); Sunny_nsk/ (moon)