Alpha Centauri is a three-star solar system 4.37 light years from Earth, the nearest neighbors of our Sun. A planet has recently been detected in the system, which raises the questions of when and how we will make our first efforts to reach this planet, or some other (relatively) nearby planet, to expand the horizons of the human race. Interstellar Flight takes us through current theories of just how we are hypothesizing doing so. To date, about 4,000 planets in the near regions of our galaxy have been identified as potential settlement options, about 1100 of which are confirmed. Estimates on the number of Earth-sized planets that could possibly support life in our galaxy fall around nine billion.
Space colonization is a myth? For decades in history space was the giant playground - but only for NASA and the USSR. Now, many nations strive to reach and explore the last frontier. With the enormous costs for the venture, will cooperation prevail over national interests? Are there benefits in the near future - for all of us - in spending so much to get to the orbit? We touch upon all these questions with Director-General of the European Space Agency, Jean Jacques Dordain.
To brave the conditions of microgravity, thin air and harsh ionizing radiation for any length of time, humans may need to borrow genes from some of the hardiest organisms on the planet, Lisa Nip, a doctoral candidate at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said in TED Talk. Using the tools of synthetic biology, scientists could genetically engineer humans, and the plants and bacteria they bring with them, to create Earth-like conditions on another planet — known as terraforming, Nip said. This would be much more efficient than other proposed terraforming methods, such as hauling all of the tools to create a hermetically sealed environment, she added.
Cosmic Journeys explores the challenges of interstellar flight and the technological possibilities that may one day send us on a long voyage out into the galaxy. What imperatives will define the mission when it launches and finally arrives: exploration and science, or a struggle for survival?

Short Film prodused by Thomas Lucas

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