Story about a deep space mission that required multiple generations descended from the original astronauts to complete

Zanza

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I read this back in 2014 from one of my grandfather's old english-learning textbooks, so I can't for sure give an accurate era from when it could've been written.

The story centered around a deep space mission to a distant planet/moon that would take several decades to complete, and as such the people selected for it would not return home to Earth. Instead, their descendants (approx. 4 generations total?) would continue the mission in their wake, their great-grandchildren being the ones to pilot their ship back to Earth.

The oldest surviving member of the party was an old woman who was part of the second generation, and had ultimately decided to stay aboard the space terminal they docked orbiting Earth.

Throughout the story, it detailed the trials and tribulations of rearing children in space, such as the final generation slacking heavily on learning how to operate the ship, before pulling things together at the last moment as they were supposed to dock in a low-orbital space station.

Upon disembarking from their ship, it's revealed that since the first generation's departure from Earth, humanity had progressed to the point where space travel was now trivial; and their arrival on Earth was met with little fanfare compared to their great-grandparents' revolutionary status.
 

Zanza

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Jun 5, 2020
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Hi, Zanza, and welcome to the Chrons!

Hmm, generation ship stories - there's quite a few. Here's a link to 150+ of them - perhaps one will jump out at you...

Generation Ship stories - Goodreads


Hi Pyan!

Unfortunately, none of these seem to fit the bill. The story I'm trying to recall was not a standalone novel, but more of a short story. Well, short enough to be featured in its entirety in a literature textbook. Is there a method for me to search the database with that as a parameter?
 

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