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The Realities of Space Travel

In: English and Literature

Submitted By lydiagfields99
Words 1539
Pages 7
Lydia Fields
Mrs. Price
10th Advanced Literature
20 May 2015
The Realities of Space Travel
Dreams of space travel became a reality when cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, a Russian, became the first human to make it into space in 1961. He successfully made a 108­minute orbital flight in his Vostok 1 spacecraft. Though this was a major milestone in history, there was still many facts about space travel that scientists were not yet aware of.
Orson Scott Card wrote
Ender’s Game
, a futuristic book where the main setting is in space, in 1985. He then rewrote it in
1991 to better the accuracy of certain facts throughout the book. As time went on, scientists continued to discover the realities of space travel; therefore, Card would need to update facts about how people age in space, traveling at the speed of light, and the effects of space travel on the human body to, once again, make
Ender’s Game an accurate novel.
Though people in space age slower than humans on earth, they only gain 0.007 seconds of extra life over a period of six months. The most important difference between aging on earth and aging in space is the aging process. This process typically includes bones becoming brittle, blood vessels hardening, muscles wasting away, joints stiffening up, bowels turning irritable, bladders becoming unpredictable, teeth decaying, vision growing dim, and skin wrinkling up.
Jessika Toothman explains this when she says, “While for most people, it takes decades to really feel the effects of the aging process, humans stationed in space experience some of them in fast forward.” In order to help make
Ender’s Game more accurate, Orson Scott Card would need to

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change the way Mazer Rackham aged. “‘Why aren’t you dead?’ Ender asked him. ‘You fought your battle seventy years ago. I don’t think you’re even sixty years old’” (Card 307). Because
Mazer would only, truly, be gaining extra minutes of life and also experiencing his aging process in fast forward, OSC would need to change Mazer’s age and his physical description.
Another misconception in
Ender’s Game concerning the aging process in space is the loss of bone mass as people reach a certain age. Toothman discusses this in her article by saying,
“After a certain age, people on Earth start to lose mass in their bones, typically at a rate of about one­to­two percent a year. But in space those people lose … as much as one­to­two percent per month.” This fact would mean that the longer that a person is up in space, the more bone mass they would lose. At one point in the book Mazer and Ender are discussing how long he’s been in space and Mazer says, “Fifty years in space. Officially, only eight years passed for me, but it felt like five hundred” (Card 307). If Mazer Rackham was in space for a long period of time, as he says in the book, he would not be able to move around or be as active due to the loss of bone mass. Card would then need to change the amount of time that Mazer spends in space in order to make the book more factually correct.
According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, it is impossible to travel at the speed of light without dying within minutes. Throughout
Ender’s Game there are parts that discuss traveling at unnaturally high speeds through space, but an article written by William A. Edelstein and Arthur
D. Edelstein breaks down the facts that prove this task to be infeasible; “Unfortunately, as spaceship velocities approach the speed of light, interstellar hydrogen H ... turns into intense radiation that would quickly kill passengers and destroy electronic instrumentation.” At one point in the book Colonel Graff mentions traveling at the highest speeds possible to make it to

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another planet; “ ... planet Eros, which should be about three months away from here at the highest possible speed which is the speed you’ll use of course” (Card 288). Orson would need to rephrase this or simply make it known that it is not possible to travel at the speed of light due to the deadly effect it has on the human body.
Another thought to take into consideration concerning traveling at the speed of light is the effect it would have on the spacecraft. William A. Edelstein and Arthur D. Edelstein mention this in their article as follows; “ ... the energy loss of ionizing radiation passing through the ship’s hull represents an increasing heat load that necessitates large expenditures of energy to cool the ship.” This information simply means that the faster that the spaceship is going, the hotter it gets, and the harder it is for the ship to cool down. Colonel Graff talks about the spaceships that have been traveling when he says in his conversation with Ender, “‘And the ships have been traveling for seventy years­’ ‘some of them. And some of them for thirty years, and some for twenty’”
(Card 292). If there were spaceships traveling at the speed of light for seventy years and even less than that, they would have burnt up or even worse: exploded. Orson Scott Card, in order to make the space travel more accurate, would need to change the time at which the spaceships spend in space.
Space travel, though it has its perks, affects the human body in many negative ways. One of the ways space travel can affect the body is by changing the time pattern, causing it to be more difficult to work in space. According to NSBRI’s science and technology program, “Many factors ­ the loss of 24­hour day/light cycle, a confined environment and work demands ­ can impact an astronaut’s ability to work well in space.” This fact would mean that the longer a person stays in space, the harder it would be for that person to carry out their everyday tasks.

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Throughout the book there are scenes where Ender works for hours such as, “Ender practiced ten hours a day with his squadron leaders … simulated battles under Mazer’s supervision came every two or three days” (Card 323). Due to fact that the time pattern is changed in space, working as long and hard as Ender did would be nearly impossible. OSC would need to refine the details on how long Ender and his squadron worked in space.
Other parts of the body, such as the bones, are affected in more extreme manners during space travel. NSBRI discusses this when they mention, “The legs, hips, and spine ­ experience a significant decrease in load bearing. This reduction leads to bone breakdown… leaving the bone more brittle and weak.” Because the astronauts’ bones would be weak, it would make it difficult and also dangerous to perform physically demanding tasks. An aggressive scene between Ender and Mazer describes Mazer’s stealthy movements as follows, “The old man quickly danced back and Ender’s hand closed on air as his teacher’s foot shot forward to catch Ender on the chin”
(Card 305). Mazer has been in space for years, which would mean that his bones were very fragile, making it very unrealistic that he would be able to physically attack Ender in the manner in which he did. Card would need to change Mazer’s physical state to make his character more accurate. Fifty­four years ago Russian astronaut, Yuri Gagarin, made the first trip into space and since that time, scientists have discovered many facts about space that have improved space travel. Orson Scott Card rewrote
Ender’s Game in 1991 to update the facts but there still was not very much data on space travel. Now, in 2015, there are plenty of facts about how people age in space, traveling at the speed of light, and the effects of space travel on the body. If Card were to rewrite
Ender’s Game
, once again, he would need to change Mazer Rackham’s age, physical

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description, and any other part of the book that discusses how people age in space to help make the book accurate. He would need to update the speeds at which humans travel through space due to the fact that traveling at the speed of light has a deadly effect on humans and the spacecraft. Lastly, Orson Scott Card would need to fix the details on how long the kids worked in space because of the toll it would take on their bodies. All of the above changes would contribute to making
Ender’s Game an accurate novel once again.

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Works Cited
Card, Orson Scott.
Ender's Game
. Rev. ed. New York: Tor, 1991. 1­368. Print.
Dunbar, Brian. "Yuri Gagarin: First Man in Space."
NASA. NASA, 13 Apr. 2011. Web. 18 May
2015.
Edelstein, William A., and Arthur D. Edelstein. "Speed Kills: Highly Relativistic Spaceflight
Would Be
Fatal for Passengers and Instruments."
Speed Kills: Highly Relativistic Spaceflight Would
Be
Fatal for Passengers and Instruments
. Scientific Research Publisher, 10 Oct. 2012. Web.
19
May 2015.
Science and Technology Program, NSBRI. "The Body in Space."
The Body in Space
. 2010.
Web. 18

Fields 7

May 2015.
Toothman, Jessika. "How Do Humans Age in Space?"
HowStuffWorks
. HowStuffWorks.com, 28
Sept. 2010. Web. 18 May 2015.…...

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