Space exploration captures the human imagination, as evidenced by the public’s fascination with films such as The Martian and Interstellar. These cultural touchstones are often the primary way that the public imagines space exploration. Thus, it is not surprising that people tend to have unrealistic ideas about the feasibility of space travel, and the extent to which human space travel has occurred. To help address this issue, we developed and tested two activities about space travel. The Migration to Mars and Solar Sails activities are Lecture Tutorial-style activities developed for introductory astronomy courses, and can be adapted for use in algebra-based physics classrooms or labs. In the remainder of this column, we describe each of these activities, and we discuss the outcomes from our use of the activities in the classroom.

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