Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by sojourner, Sep 28, 2016.
Wow, that is one big rocket! And they've already started engine tests and built prototype tankage!
This likely explains the primary reason behind the testing of their Falcon 9 reusable rockets. I'm not sure if he'll be able to pull this off, but I can't fault the man's drive. So far, SpaceX has made a great many strides, and I can't wait to see what they do next.
If you would've told me, even five years ago, that we would have self-returning, self-landing LEO booster-rockets that could repeatedly launch personnel and payloads into space, I would've thought you were talking about Space: 1999. Now the self-landing Falcon 9 booster is a reality and we live in a world where highly reusable and recallable spacecraft are part of our space fleet. That's insane!
There's a nice little summary write-up on Musk's presentation up on HuffPo.
$200,000 for a one-way trip and you have to pay him? I'll pass.
He was very clear that it would be a round trip ticket
Really? I thought the idea was to colonise Mars not create a tourist industry. However, I admit I might have been mislead by news reports as I don't have two hours to spare to watch the video.
ETA: Yeah, apparently there is an option to return. I wonder how much that costs...
Sorry, but I'm just old and cynical. Musk has a great vision but I'll be way too old to participate by the time he has set up the required infrastructure. Pity, because I quite fancied taking on the role of Nevil Clavain.
Round trip is understandable. Like astronauts on the ISS, they stay for some months, maybe couple of years for Mars, and then come back to earth and other people go in their place. I guess there could be an option to stay in Mars permanently in some sort of and supervisory role.
Colonization will come later after the basic infrastructure is in place.
First passengers will probably need to a lot of manual labor.
Based on the safety record of Elon's rocket designs either not landing on the floating dock correctly or exploding on the launch pad any use of his rockets for delivery of human or material cargo to Mars let alone Soon building a colony on Mars should be met with diligence and caution.
Before Elon would be allowed to build any habitat on Mars or rocket delivery systems he would first be required to build a ten person habitat on the Moon and prove that his structures and vehicles are capable and designed correctly to maintain the colony for at least six months.
Once a five year cycle of success had been achieved then Elon would be allowed to move his habitats to Mars.
Space exploration is always frowned upon for numerous reasons. Giving the Haters more fuel for their fire with a vehicle or colony disaster on Mars is not what space exploration and colonization needs on a resume.
As I understand it, Musk wants to send at least a million people to Mars permanently and eventually to terraform it so they wouldn't have to live in pressure domes. His plan is basically to buy a planet with the help of paying colonists. I'm not sure what sort of government it would have but he doesn't seem the tyrannical type even if he is a billionaire. I'd be up for making the one-way trip but for the fact that I'll be too damned old when it comes to pass. The return trip should cost extra -- possibly more than the outward trip -- to discourage time wasters. Troublemakers, criminals, and other malcontents could be shipped back for nothing or just shoved out the airlock -- it's a frontier world after all.
I agree. Restrictions are likely given that Musk seems to expect government assistance and to use NASA facilities. However, space is perhaps going to remain a dangerous place into which to venture for centuries in all likelihood. We shouldn't just give up because the risk is greater, say, than driving a road vehicle. European colonisation of the Americas, Australia and so on wasn't without many risks but life expectancy back then wasn't great either. We've gotten a bit soft perhaps.
Hope Elon doesn't read the articles on the website Science 2.0 about terraforming Mars. He won't be happy.
I assume you mean this article:
If we practised terraforming on Mars and screwed it up, there aren't any other nearby candidates on which we could have another go.
That one, and I believe there is another, or at least another related article. It's been some months.
Venus might be a better bet by floating colonies in its atmosphere although its gravity well is nearly as deep as Earth's so getting off the planet is harder:
Because all those other companies have been so good at landing their rockets over the last 50 years.... oh, wait.
The idea of visiting Mars, having robots and people explore it, and setting up some kind of "Moonrise Alpha" there is intriguing. I'm all for exploring space and for us becoming a spacefaring civilization. That's a logical step in humanity's future.
Having said that, unless someone is going to come up with a new technology that creates artificial gravity for spacecraft and colonies, I fail to see how colonizing the Moon or Mars is desirable for anything but a limited-tern scientific expedition. If I understand Elon Musk's presentation correctly, Mars has about three-eighths of Earth's gravity. Since low gravity and weightlessness are not good for the human body long-term, I doubt Earth will be exporting colonists to become permanent Martians anytime soon.
In order for a colony to become self-sustaining (a stated and necessary goal) all Martian spacecraft, technology, food, and other living necessities would have to be sourced and cultivated on Mars. Everything, soup-to-nuts, from your pizza to your clothes to your bar of soap, would have to be cultivated from Martian resources. Since there are no plants or animals visible there, and the local climate is unforgiving, and there's that gravity issue again, I do not see how colonizing Mars with a view toward the Red Planet becoming "Earth II" would even be desirable, much less practical.
Terraforming Mars is a dubious idea for the same reasons as state above. If Mars has only three-eights of Earth's gravity, how much atmosphere would the planet be able to hold, even assuming Earth has the resources to be engaging in a massive terraforming effort in the first place? Let's pretend we have a way to somehow cultivate plant life, melt the Martian ice, and somehow transform the Martian climate to something like Earth's in terms of breathable atmosphere, liquid bodies of water, and weather patterns. (A huge if) How is this temperate climate going to be sustained, long-term? Won't the atmosphere bleed off into space? Even if we had a Genesis torpedo (without any unstable protomatter), it would seem to be a terrible waste as the cold and the lacking gravity would ultimately render the Martian surface uninhabitable.
And that's assuming that we have the means to pull off such a venture. Clearly, we as humans currently do not have a good track record of maintaining the habitability of our own planet today. With no real experience at terraforming another planet, this idea of permanently colonizing Mars does seem quixotic at best.
The intriguing part of Musk's presentation is the idea that building a colonial space fleet of carbon-fiber rocketships and at least visiting Mars does seem possible in the next quarter-century. And the possibility that we could erect a "Delta Vega" station there to refuel our ships to return to Earth using Methalox fuel (methane and liquid oxygen) is mind-blowing!
It would take tens of thousands of years for an atmosphere on Mars to escape into space. Plenty of time to find a solution to that problem.
I think the human race should first exploit asteroid resources and build O'Neill habitats in space near Earth rather than try to colonise another gravity well on what is mostly a toxic rubble pile that's a relatively far away. In any case, it would be beneficial to master space-based or moon-based refining, processing and construction and to develop a robust space infrastructure before heading off to colonise more distant worlds.
I don't know. I think domes on Mars would be technologically easier than O'Neill colonies. We have much more experience working in a gravity well than we do outside of one. And Mars is pretty benign. I wouldn't call it "toxic".
I suppose as long as colonizing space makes no economic sense to grow and requires technology we don't have to even survive, we might as well find people who'll pay for the privilege of going along with it.
What is it about space colonization that encourages talk about how there'll just be no choice but to kill the uppity types? Do people even hear when they're doing it?
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