Begin settling space,
and ship off thousands of vegetarians to Mars- what's not to like?
Billionaire space pioneer Elon Musk wants to get a Martian colony of 80,000 people up and running by ferrying folks out there for $500,000 a trip. Mars Musk wants to start his colony on Mars with just ten people or so, who would fly to the planet on a huge reusable rocket powered by liquid oxygen and methane. "At Mars, you …
It is nice to be optimistic about expanding civilization beyond Earth. Three things, though.
1) There is clearly naivete in Elon. On its first docking mission, one of the non-shielded computers failed in the very-short LEO mission (two others did capably back it up, though). I wonder what an extended mission would unearth.
2) They have yet to explain exactly how they will avoid another single-engine blowout during launch. In this case, they could sacrifice the secondary launch device. When loaded to full-rating, that wouldn't be an option.
3) Curiousity's team is expected to announce some kind of organic-find on Mars during the AGU in December. If there is ANY chance that indigenous organic activity exists on Mars, then we shouldn't assume that we can simply overlay it with Earth based life forms.
2) They didn't need to sacrifice anything: if the pesky ISS hadn't been in the way the secondary payload would still have been delivered. Losing one engine out of nine did not restrict the vehicle's capabilities - that's why it's built that way.
Elon is going to send only vegetarians, so he can get lots of methane to start global warming on Mars, and get it nicely terraformed. As a bonus, they can also help refuel his rocket.
I guess it's viable, so long as you can grow enough brussels sprouts, cabbage and beans in Martian conditions.
Good point, but you're looking at it the wrong way - maybe he's thinking you need to send up a lot of cows to help terraform with their voluminous gaseous emissions, and lack of complaining about working standards.
The vegetarian part is just so you don't get hungry and eat the cows while they're performing essential flatulent duties.
Not just dreaming- he's throwing time, money and other people's brains at launch vehicles, initially to reduce the cost of satellite launches. The Mars thing is down the line a little.
The full interview is over on Wired, and what he said about the cost of rockets was interesting. Fuel is only 0.3% of the cost of his rocket, cost of materials to make a rocket is traditionally 2% of the cost - compared to around 25% for a car - so there is room for greater efficiency in the manufacture; it suggests that the old system of contracting to contractors who in turn subcontract hasn't given NASA the most whoosh their buck. He's also used friction stir welding to add ribs to the frame, rather than machine them out of solid billets of alloy.
I have no doubt that Musk is skilled at PR, and he isn't yet addressing issues of radiation on astronaut's bodies on the journey, but its good to see a billionaire doing something interesting with his money rather than just get a yacht
he's throwing time, money and other people's brains at launch vehicles
And other people's money if he thinks governments should foot part of the initial cost. If it's not viable without tax money, then it's not viable.
I'd jump on the first flight if I was sure there was no taxes on Mars!
"but its good to see a billionaire doing something interesting with his money rather than just get a yacht."
Perhaps you give him too much credit. Maybe all he's doing is laying plans to build a giant space yacht...
With a name like his, he's clearly going to go mad at some point, and build an underground volcano base, or space station, and fill it with henchmen (and henchwomen). But fortunately they always build them with a convenient self-destruct system. Which makes thwarting them a lot easier.
I read the interview, he's certainly thought about it from a business perspective (i.e. creating a market where there is a constant stream of people willing to pay to be ferried to Mars). If we were thinking about colonising Mars from a practical perspective it would make much more sense to send a small group of people (enough form a viable gene pool for breeding) and let them get on with populating the planet by themselves.
Between asteroids, zombie apocalypses, ROTM, triffids, toxic overload, ocean acidification etc, its a hedging of our species' bets.
And there are people who live in Arctic regions, since more hospitable regions are already populated by other people.
Granted, it wouldn't be for most people, but in this world of 7 billion people, I'd hope there would be some volunteers.
I'd pay $500,000 dollars to send Pier Morgan on a one way trip to the cold desolate inhospitable wasteland that is Mars ;-)
Donations accepted to send the unwanted and unwashed to Mars are welcome. Other suggestions,Paris Hilton perhaps? anybody who's ever appeared on a reality TV show?
Just make sure we don't send them a video camera!
Surely if you lack in volunteers a quick round up of standard issue tv-wannabes with the old 'its a reality show' ploy would generate a hefty queue of volunteers and a couple of presenters as well. Unfortunately suitability of the applicants for establishing a sustainable and well run colony of humans somewhere else in the galaxy would probably be low
Come to think of it, the whole idea sounds a bit Douglas Adams to me...
I presume they're not taking anything living other than the plants and what the human body hosts on and within it. Unless they're taking livestock, I can only assume they're going to live as vegans.
Also, people in their mid-40's. Is that to reduce the risk of making native martians by the colonists?
Still, I like Elon "adventurous" Musk and his idea's. Better for humanity to dream than sit in our cave's wondering how to get round the problem of cold weather.
Musk does look like he could pass for Arnie's younger brother... similar eyes and forehead!
That recent Total Recall remake was less than the sum of its parts, though I liked their substitution of Australia for Mars! Hmm.. plan.... take $500,000 off people in return for a trip to Mars, tell them that they will be in suspended animation for the journey, they awake in a polythene greenhouse in the Aussie outback.
Why would anyone, Dr Who, make that simple mistake? It is not as if IT isn't Mentored and Monitored, is it?
But when it isn't, is Mentored and Monitored IT Born ........ Created and Floated Out into Virtual Space Lanes.
Building Gardens of Eden in Heavenly Locations on Earth would be an Alien Project requiring Great Game Imaginanation and Flashy Transfers of Stash Cash to Burn on SMARTR Spends, which really spooks the markets. If you can't create a heaven on Earth with all of the worlds resources patently always available to you, it don't say much for the chances on Mars whenever you have no successful working model worked out on Earth with all that IT can so easily provide.
Solving/Resolving Problems Earthbound has them disappear in Space Flight ...... which makes rebuilding Earth in an increasing number of places in the likeness of an Idyllic Space Living on Mars or Venus or wherever a sort of no-brainer, Elon. IT is Edutainment.
Simply because of launch costs.
You'd probably be looking iro $100k to orbit, which while sounding nice, isn't practical near term.
The fuel alone for the launch would cost more than that!
Dragon is about the size of the Apollo capsule, which could only carry 3 people, with tech improvements, lets say 5.
F9 launch is $50m currently.
To achieve $100k, would require 100x reduction in launch costs.
I doubt even Skylon could match that.
I admire the drive and the aim, but the practicality is questionable.