Tom Cruise Expresses Interest in Space Travel

May 11, 2013

【Unlocking Word Meanings】

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

1. venture 
[VEN-cher] (v.) – to do something that is risky or potentially dangerous
Example: His curiosity about the outer space made him want to venture on space travel.

2. atmosphere [AT-muh s-feer] (n.) – gases surrounding the Earth
Example: Pollution in the atmosphere has become more severe over the years.

3. momentarily [moh-muh n-TAIR-uh-lee, MOH-muh n-ter-] (adv.) – in a short period of time
Example: I was able to momentarily see the meteor shower.

4. extraterrestrial [ek-struh-tuh-RES-tree-uh l] (adj.) – located or occurring outside the Earth
Example: Shena has always believed that aliens and extraterrestrial organisms exist.

5. innumerable [ih-NOO-mer-uh-buh l, ih-NYOO-] (adj.) – extremely numerous  or too many to be measured
ExampleInnumerable stars and planets are present in the whole universe.


Read the text below.

Top-billing actor Tom Cruise considers travelling to space in the future. According to reports, he expressed his willingness to pay $200,000 for a ticket to travel outside the Earth.

In a movie premiere held in Russia, the 50-year-old Hollywood mega-star talked about his childhood dream of travelling to other planets. He added though that he will let other people venture on space travel first before trying it out himself.

A few companies, including the California-based Virgin Galactic, have been developing spaceships built for commercial purposes. Now on its testing phase, Virgin Galactic is expected to launch its first spaceflight in 2014.

With the capacity to carry six passengers and two crew members, Virgin Galactic’s spaceships will fly outside the Earth’s atmosphere. During the flight, the passengers will be able to momentarily float in mid-air due to weightlessness and will be able to see the Earth from above.

Aside from Tom Cruise, several other celebrities have also expressed their interest on space travel. Among these celebrities are actors Russel Brand and Ashton Kutcher, who both managed to reserve seats on Virgin Galactic’s first flights. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, also gave Kate Winslet a free ticket to thank her for rescuing his mother during a fire. Virgin Galactic now has over 500 future passengers.

Currently promoting his sci-fi movie “Oblivion,” Cruise also commented about the existence of extraterrestrial beings. He pointed out that Earth being the only living planet is almost impossible considering that the universe is composed of innumerable galaxies.

【Viewpoint Discussion】

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         In your opinion, how successful would commercial space travel be?
·         Is it reasonable to pay $200,000 for a chance to travel to space? Why do you think so?

Discussion B

·         Do you believe that aliens exist in other planets? Why do you think so?
·         Do you think it is possible for humans to live in other planets? Please explain your answer.


May 11, 2013