The Universe

Season 2 Episode 8

Space Travel

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Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Feb 05, 2008 on The History Channel
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When man finally broke free of the Earth's gravitational pull the dream of traveling to other planets became a reality. Today scientists are proposing a bizarre array of technologies in the hope of traveling faster through space, from space craft sporting sails that catch laser beams, to propulsion engines powered by a bizarre entity known as anti-matter.moreless

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      • Narrator: It promises to deliver technologies that will carry us ever farther, ever faster. But it's fraught with constant and lethal peril. It will test the limits of human capacity and human ingenuity. Welcome to the Age of Space Travel.

      • Narrator: The universe is an unforgiving place. It's open to only the boldest adventurers, those who have the mettle to tread deep into an environment swimming with toxic hazard and unafraid to stray far from the safe and familiar.

      • Neil DeGrasse Tyson: Often our efforts to explore space have been analogized to the great explorers of the 15th and 16th century. The first to cross the oceans going to unknown territory, having to bring all of their supplies with them not knowing if they'll ever return, and I think there's a lot to say about that analogy. But there's a point where it breaks down badly. When Cortez landed in South America, when Columbus hit the Caribbean, there was still air there for him to breathe, right, there was fruit on the trees. Suppose the Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, landed on the Moon and the engine broke. What do you do? Nothing. You just die. There's not sort of an engine tree that they can pluck parts to repair their ship. So the hazards are vastly greater to human health in space exploration than traveling anywhere on Earth's surface.

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