US Plans to Go Deeper in Space

June 10, 2011

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

1. spacecraft (n.) – a vehicle that is designed to travel out of the earth’s atmosphere and in space
Example: The spacecraft travelled millions of mile to Mars.

2. re-creation (n.) – the act of changing something to create a new one
Example: The young painter is making a recreation of Mona Lisa.
3. region (n.) – an area or space    
Example: The South East Asian region is an area that can be found on the Pacific.

4. shuttle (n.) – a transportation that goes back and forth in one course or track
Example: The shuttle arrives at the bus stop every two hours.

5. astronaut (n.) – a person who is trained to travel in space
Example: My friend who is fascinated by space travel wants to be an astronaut.

Read the text below.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is set to build a spacecraft that can carry humans as far as Mars.

The vehicle called Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) is a re-creation of the current US Space Shuttle and is based on the design of a previous spacecraft project that got cancelled years ago.

According to NASA's Administrator Charles Bolden, MPCV will have the capability to travel beyond the low-earth orbit region which is about 2,000km from the earth’s surface. The last time NASA was able to go beyond this region was in the 1970s through the Apollo program.

NASA claims MPCV will be much better than the existing Space Shuttle. MPCV will be much larger and safer to launch and land back to Earth. MPCV will have the capacity to transport four astronauts to the moon and even regions as far as Mars.

However, NASA says MPCV will not be launched until 2016, and they are hoping they can test it within the decade. NASA also hopes that MPCV will be launched sooner because the current Space Shuttle program is about to close in July. Until MPCV is ready, NASA will have to pay Russian space agency to transport their astronauts in space.

NASA still has to build a rocket that can launch the MPCV into space. US President Obama has promised $3 billion for the construction of the said vehicle.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         How do we benefit from space exploration?
·         Should ordinary people be aware of what’s happening in space? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think some governments spend a lot of money to make spacecrafts?
·         Do you think this is wise use of government money? Please explain your answer.

June 10, 2011