The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Some international students at Texas A&M have been struggling to pick up groceries because of limited transportation options from campus to H-E-B and Walmart on Texas Avenue.
Former A&M employee sentenced to 5 years for hiding restroom camera
The employee, who worked for Transportation Services, was sentenced Friday
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • June 24, 2024
Texas A&M pitcher Kaiden Wilson (30) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • June 23, 2024

By the seventh inning in game two of Texas A&M baseball’s Men’s College World Series championship series against Tenneseee, it looked...

Eats & Beats at Lake Walk features live music and food trucks for the perfect outdoor concert.
Enjoying the Destination
Cara Hudson, Maroon Life Writer • June 17, 2024

For the history buffs, there’s a story to why Bryan and College Station are so closely intertwined. In 1871 when the Texas Legislature approved...

Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Space tourism now more possible than ever, experts say

Photo by Graphic by Sydney Farris

SpaceX recently announced its goal to fly two private citizens around the Moon.

As SpaceX continues to push the horizon of space exploration — most recently with its ambitious goal to fly private citizens around the Moon — space tourism is an up-and-coming reality.
Since the new year, there has been exciting news about space exploration. A nearby collection of potentially habitable planets was discovered and SpaceX announced that it would send two private citizens around the Moon. As the world population increases, the depletion of resources could necessitate further human expansion, not outward, but upward into space.
Greg Chamitoff, former astronaut and professor of aerospace engineering, said space tourism is our future and that it is “the first step” into a long journey ahead of us that will revolutionize air travel.
“In decades from now I see the revolution for world travel to look like flight that goes up to intermediate transportation hubs in orbit,” Chamitoff said. “You’d launch a vehicle from wherever you are. You go up to an orbiting space port. You get off your launch vehicle hang around for a little bit, get on your descending vehicle at the right time and you land where ever you want to go.”
Chamitoff said once a method for space tourism becomes commercially available, humans could start to see the use of resources from space on Earth, and it will push forward humanity’s development to other planets.
“I think it’s going to kick us into gear with being able to become a species that lives all around our solar system and not just in one place,” Chamitoff said.
Jennifer Marshall, physics and astronomy assistant professor, said it’s exciting to watch the development of the space industry, especially the vision for Mars.
“I think this is the only plausible way to form a colony on the moon or a colony on mars or whatever,” Marshall said. “I don’t think that any government has enough money to fund this effort. If private people have the money to fund it then I think that’s great.”
Traveling in space is risky, and there are many unanswered questions luring in the science community. Nicholas Suntzeff, physics and astronomy professor, said there are many risks that need to be considered when going into space, but the main problems tourists would need to consider are subjects like radiation and space junk, not pollution to the upper atmosphere or global cooling.
“Going into space is not just yet another exciting thing to do,” Suntzeff said. “It’s getting pretty crowded around the earth’s orbit, and it’s not at this point yet but it’s close to getting dangerous to go into orbit around the earth, because there is so much space junk.”
Another concern Suntzeff expressed was that there is nothing in place now controlling the future of space tourism —  which is susceptible to add more space junk — possibly through advertisement.
“Imagine you could launch a satellite that would then spread out a Mylar sheet that’s a kilometer across, and on that sheet was some advertisement like Coca Cola or Chick-fil-a or something,” Suntzeff said. “That thing would be going around the Earth every 90 minutes if it’s in the Earth’s orbit. And near sunrise and sunset it would be able to reflect light from the sun so we’d be able to see it very clearly. So now you have this bright object in space that’s pointed down towards you which is advertising something. Right now there is nothing stopping anyone from doing that.”
Suntzeff said the sky does not belong to one specific person and humans need to think about in it a different light.
“It’s like the sky is everyone’s heritage,” Suntzeff said. “Whether you’re from a rural community in Australia or New York City or a community in Africa, the sky is the heritage of everyone.”

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