Two Individuals to Fly Around the Moon

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. aerospace / ˈɛər oʊˌspeɪs / (n) – an industry that produces spacecraft

    The continuous development of new spacecraft will help aerospace companies earn more profit.  

  2. circumnavigate / ˌsɜr kəmˈnæv ɪˌgeɪt / (v) – to go completely around an area by sailing or by flight

    Astronauts circumnavigate the moon for possible discoveries.

  3. lunar / ˈlu nər / (adj) – being related to the moon

    The new device has a lunar appearance.

  4. immersion / ɪˈmɜr ʒən / (n) – involvement

    The training will include immersion in other cultures.

  5. cosmic / ˈkɒz mɪk / (adj) – being related to the universe or outer space

    People engage in cosmic travels to explore the wonders of the universe.


Read the text below.

Space transport services company SpaceX has agreed to fly two people around the moon.

Two unnamed explorers approached SpaceX to express their interest in flying to the moon. The aerospace company agreed to the request and will provide the spacecraft Dragon 2 capsule, which will be attached to SpaceX’s upcoming spacecraft, the Falcon Heavy. According to SpaceX founder Elon Musk, the journey will mainly involve circumnavigating the moon. The explorers themselves will finance the mission.

Preparations for this lunar mission, which is set for 2018, include fitness tests and survival training, which usually entails immersion in areas with extreme conditions such as deserts or cold forests. These measures are expected to equip the explorers with the necessary skills to survive in harsh environments that they may possibly encounter during the mission.

In addition, a test flight will be conducted on the Falcon Heavy this summer, while the Dragon 2 capsule will be used in a demo mission during the latter part of the year.

Musk added that the two explorers will enter the mission with full awareness of the risks. One is exposure to cancer-causing cosmic radiation. In addition, a gravity-less environment can have negative effects on the body. For instance, more blood rises up to the chest and the brain, which increases blood pressure. There is also a possibility of unsafe landing, such as the case of the Columbia mission in 2003, where all seven astronauts were killed due to a damage on the shuttle’s left wing.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Aside from fitness tests and survival training, what other preparations can the explorers make before entering the mission?
• Do you think regular citizens should be allowed to travel in space if they can afford it? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Aside from space, which areas or places do you think should be explored? Why do you think so?
• What resources are needed to be able to explore these areas?