Describe a story about space (real or fictitious) that you have read about or seen in a film or on TV.
You should say:
when you read about or saw the story what happened in the story
whether the story has any significance today
and explain how you felt about this story.
Examiner: Let’s talk about attitudes towards space travel.
What do you think fascinates humans about outer space?
Pauline: Well, it’s a ‘new frontier’ and it represents the ‘unknown*, and humans have a natural tendency to want to explore unknown places. It goes right back to the early explorers who travelled across the globe. You know, it’s like the time when people were discovering that the Earth was round, not flat, and that there’s a gravitational force Over the centuries, one discovery has led to another so that we know a great deal more about Earth now. but we still know relatively little about outer space. We’re still a bit obsessed with it.
E: Do you think that’s why some stories about space travel have been so ‘imaginative’?
P: Oh definitely, yes. Because, well, anything could be out there so – to make it exciting, particularly in films – you can just imagine what that might be. You know, so there are horror films that are designed to make you afraid of extra-terrestrial life, there are TV programmes like Star Trek that have a huge cult following and then there are box-office hits like Avatar – that was even bigger in America than the Harry Potter films.
E: How do you think people’s attitudes towards space exploration have changed since the first Moon landings’
P: Mm. I think there’s possibly less interest now. since it’s no longer new and exciting Back in the 1960s. when the Moon landing took place, everybody was very impressed.
It was an incredible moment, and it made the human race come together and see that we can acheive something that’s ‘out of this world’. But I think we’ve reached the point now where the next step is going to be too risky and too difficult. And well – as far as I’m concerned, it’s a waste of money.
E: To what extent do you think governments will continue to fund projects in search of life on other planets?
P: I think it’s unlikely that they’ll continue because it’s too expensive. At a time when most countries are struggling to make ends meet, who wants to spend billions on space travel? As far as the solar system’s concerned, we’ve a reasonably good understanding of what’s on other planets and we’re pretty certain that they wouldn’t sustain life.
So there’s little point in sending people up there. I think governments may well continue to send space probes to see what they come up with, but why risk people’s lives?