In this peice, inspiring_penguin is Rita Robinson, quickwitted_hurricane is Arabella Armitaige and intuitive_power is Imogene Indigo. It is in the style of a radio show that we have called BNC news. The question is: Is space travel worth the cost. We hope you enjoy:
*please note all the names and roles are made up*
Rita: Hello and welcome back to the BNC news! I am your host, Rita Robinson and this is the show where you get all the big answers from all the big questions. Now, today we have a topic that’s sure to be out of this world; Is space travel worth the cost? To help me answer this, I have two exceptional guests who are specialists when it comes to all things space… First we have Imogene Indigo, a model student at the International Space University, keen debater but doubts that space travel is really all the stars and dust that people say it is. Arabella Armitaige is a passionate astrologist and avid space intellect who believes space is certainly worth investigating, no matter the cost.
Lets begin with a question for Imogene, what is your view on the money being spent on space travel currently?
Imogene: Well, Rita. I definitely think that the amount of money being spent on space is astronomical (excuse the pun). Take the International Space Station, for example. I have recently discovered that the US has spent approximately $300 billion dollars to make and maintain the ISS since launch. This is really worrying for me, as the G7 countries together gave only $20 million to help the Amazon Rainforest fires earlier this year. This shows that evidently, space travel is more important than the climate crisis here on Earth to some.
Rita: Yes, that is a very valid point; our planet is a very big concern at the moment. I actually didn’t know that G7 countries only gave $20m. Arabella, how about you?
Arabella: I think space travel, although slightly expensive, is 100% worth the cost, as we need to have a backup planet for when our own Planet Earth eventually dies. Space travel can also reveal major breakthroughs concerning climate change and unusual weather patterns. Unknown to many people, we use space practically everyday; needing it to communicate with others around the world and inform people on the latest news. If we quit all space funding now, who knows what world we would be living in!
Rita: So Imogene, could you please tell us a bit about space travel’s environmental impact?
Imogene: The environmental impact from space travel is huge. Did you know, over 500,000 gallons of fuel (22,73,045 litres) is used just to launch a rocket into space? Think about the impact that could have! That contributes immensely to greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Even if they are very sparsely done, rocket launches do leave a hefty carbon footprint. Also, if it doesn’t harm nature, it does contribute to the greenhouse effect.
Arabella: Thank you Imogene, but I have a rebuttal to one of your points. In this article (Source) it states that many rockets are propelled by hydrogen fuel, which produces ‘clean’ water vapour exhaust. It also states that space junk is a growing issue which I also think people should be looking into. Now, onto my points. Yes, Imogene?
Imogene: In the article, it clearly says that the production of hydrogen used as the fuel can also produce carbon footprints. Also, the engines ‘release trace gases into the upper atmosphere which can contribute to ozone depletion, as well as particles of soot.’ Can you back your point up with this?
Arabella: That was not the point I was saying. I clearly argued with your point about the harmful rocket fuel, not the ozone layer.
Imogene: Well surely the ozone layer comes into this; this is the layer that protects our planet from harmful rays from the sun. Without it, we would fry. Surely that is important?
Rita: Sorry ladies, I have to stop you there as we are a little short on time. Anyway, those were good points you each made! Now, Arabella, why do you believe governments (especially NASA) should continue to invest in improving and rebuilding the ISS?
Arabella: I believe that governments should continue funding NASA and the ISS as this monumental agency has not only sent the first humans to space, however they have also undergone severe pressure from the media to find a solution for climate change. For the sake of our future generations, if we continue to fund NASA, we may find a suitable exoplanet that we could move to if our planet becomes inhabitable.
Imogene: I do agree with your point about the exoplanets but how would we get there? Surely it would take hundreds or even thousands of years to get there, and people would be dead then?
So, instead of funding NASA to find exoplanets, we could use that to clean our oceans and find a solution to fight climate change? Isn’t that an easier and more foreseeable solution? I would argue that.
Rita: Well that was some great ideas on today's topic! And don’t forget, you can hop on the BNC hub whenever you want and get involved with this fascinating discussion. Thank you and goodbye!