Do students dream of going to space?

Some wish to take off, others are glad to be grounded


Julia Baron

Seniors Levi Mellin and Evan Reynolds both express possible interest in traveling to space. Other students aren’t so sure.

As space has historically been at the forefront of scientific thought and been a signifier of a country’s development (think the race to space during the Cold War), it has sparked intense curiosity and imaginative interest in students about the unknown beyond earth. Some kids grow up watching Apollo 11, A Space Odyssey, and Interstellar, and dream of being astronauts, while some are fascinated by Hidden Figures and are content studying it from a distance. Either way, the study of space holds a rare fascination in kids from a young age, with a Harris Poll that surveyed 8-12 year olds in the United States, Great Britain and China, revealing 86% of kids have an interest in space exploration. This interest continues through teenage years as a Gallup Poll reveals that 59% of 14-17 year olds would like to go to the moon someday.
At SPA, there seem to be mixed feelings about students themselves being astronauts. Although ninth grader Rishi Bhargava has never considered becoming an astronaut himself, he is still interested in the implications of space travel.
“Space is interesting for its ramifications for life on earth. Space travel has given us GPS, accurate weather predictions, and important medical research” Bhargava said.
Sophomore Lily Malloy is in a similar boat; she is interested in learning about different planets and stars, but wouldn’t be interested in living in the uncomfortable conditions that astronauts must endure.
“When I first learned about astronauts I thought it would be very cool to become one, but when I learned the side effects of going to space and what happens I didn’t want to anymore… I am happy living on Earth. I like having resources and I feel like I’m not independent enough to live in space” Malloy said.
Seniors Levi Mellin and Evan Reynolds disagree, explaining why they would consider becoming an astronaut and visiting space.
“I would consider being an astronaut because I have always wanted to experience zero gravity… I think it would be cool to live on Mars but I think it would be cooler to live on Venus,” Mellin said.
“I would consider being an astronaut because of how unique of an experience it would be, you actually get to experience life outside of Earth which would be really awesome,” Reynolds said. As for living on Mars specifically, he’s not so sure. “I don’t have any interest in living on Mars, there are really harsh conditions and I would find it hard to leave Earth behind because of the memories and experiences I’ve had,” Reynolds said.
Bhargava also wouldn’t want to travel to Mars, and specifically cites Elon’s Musk’s recent announcement of his plans to send humans there by 2026, with plans to set up a whole community there.
“If I had the option to join Elon Musk’s trip to Mars, I would probably decline. I don’t think the solution to environmental issues lies in finding a new home, but working towards improving the one we have. Once we can prove that sustainable life on earth is possible, then humanity can try to colonize other planets,” Bhargava said.
Even if students are unsure of their desires to be an actual astronaut, especially on Mars, what remains consistent is the widespread interest and curiosity in space and life beyond earth.