The Dangers and Challenges of Space Travel: Research Paper Topics

The movie Passengers, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, tells a gripping story about the challenges of interstellar space travel. Part of a contingent numbering 5,000, the characters are on a space flight that will take 120 years to reach its destination. Things go awry when the main characters are awakened 90 years too early.

Learn more about the challenges of space travel. (Credit: Coole)

Learn more about the challenges of space travel. (Credit: Coole)

When planning space flights scientists need to take into account not only technical factors, but human factors as well. How humans react and adapt to conditions that they will encounter in space are subjects that would make for an exciting research paper.

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On the subject of space travel be sure to check out Spacefaring: The Human Dimension by Albert A. Harrison.

This book explores the human side of spaceflight: why people are willing to brave danger and hardship to go into space; how human culture has shaped past and present missions; and the effects of space travel on health and well-being.

Drawing from a strong research base in the behavioral sciences, Harrison covers such topics as habitability, crew selection and training, coping with stress, group dynamics, accidents, and more.

Questions presented in Passengers

Although it’s fiction, the movie, Passengers is sure to spark all sorts of questions in your mind about what humans will face when they travel into space. Just imagine taking more than a century to travel to your destination. Then, when you get there, the only resources you have are the ones you brought with you.

How do scientists plan for all the possible scenarios? Do they even know all of the dangers that space travelers could encounter?

In a January 2, 2016, article for Forbes.com, Ethan Siegel examined similar questions. Siegel believes that interstellar travel is possible but there are going to be limits.

The first problem to address is the amount of time it will take to reach another star. It could take hundreds or even thousands of years. That will require technology to either allow for multi-generational travelers or else some sort of cryogenic freezing and then thawing technology similar to what is depicted in the movie Passengers.

According to Siegel, improvements in fuel and thrust technologies could cut down the amount of time it takes to travel between the stars. No matter the technology used, the journey will be a one-way commitment for those who take it.

“At this point, although I hate to say it, our best bet is to focus on the one-way journey; for going at all is better than waiting for a technology that may be physically impossible in our Universe to arrive,” Siegel said.

Is space travel possible?

Is a Star Trek type warp drive technology possible?

Bianca Nogrady discussed the possibilities in an October 4, 2016, article for BBC.com, “The myths and reality about interstellar travel.”

According to Nogrady, the closest Earth-like planet that we know of is located 4.37 light-years away. With our current technology, the journey would take about 18,000 years.

“Star Trek made it all look so easy, but everything we currently know about the laws of physics tells us that faster-than-light travel – or even travel at the speed of light – is not possible,” Nogrady said.

Given the limitations of our technology, scientists will have to design space ships that include an environment that will sustain human life for the long-term.

Explore thousands of resources for science and technology at Questia.

Do you think that humans will eventually establish colonies in other areas of space? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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