SpaceX CEO claims he can send you on a round
Your dream of visiting the Red Planet may soon come true if the claim made by Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, actually comes to fruition. The commercial space travel entrepreneur told the BBC in an interview that he figured out how to send a person on a round trip journey to Mars and back, and that it could be ready in as little as ten years. The best part? Musk says that the person could afford the trip since it will only cost $500,000. I not sure which average person he means, but you can bet I am going to be getting a second job for the next ten years to try to make it!
Known for its Dragon spacecraft that has been awarded the contract to make resupply trips to the International Space Station, SpaceX certainly seems capable of dreaming up a low cost method of visiting Mars. The principle behind all of its vehicles is total re usability; every single system must be able to be serviced and pressed back into opera mulberry sale tion. This is to cut down on the already astronomical cost of space flight (pun intended), making it more affordable for private companies to conduct missions into the heavens. The company main goal is to eliminate the equipment cost for space travel, leaving fuel as the only financial burden.
The same theory applies to Musk current claim about Mars, with one interesting exception: He says that he come up with a way to refuel the spacecraft while on the surface of the fourth rock from the Sun. This would eliminate the need for the space vehicle to carry the fuel for the return trip home, making it lighter and therefore cheaper to launch it into space. Of those seven, three were total failures. Also, the company has yet to make a trip to the ISS, a fact that honestly isn its fault since NASA is the one who keeps pushing the launch date back, not SpaceX. I have to admit that there is a certain about of doubt in my mind as well. Space travel is a difficult undertaking, with many unknowns that can pop up. Still, I am intrigued to see if Musk can back up his claim.
There are several hurdles to sending a manned mission to Mars, not the least of which being the fuel production once it lands. Any human that makes the trip will be stuck inside the vehicle for the 214 days it would take to actually travel to the Red Planet. If Musk plan is to send a would be astronaut in a modified version of the Dragon capsule, anyone who gets claustrophobia would be out of the running since it a pretty small spacecraft. Nevermind the boredom and medical issues that could arise.
Nevertheless, SpaceX seems to be on the right track when it comes to space travel. With NASA planned trip to Mars most likely not happening until 2030, and with billions of dollars of one use parts, it seems that private companies like Musk have a much better chance of making the dream of walking on Mars a reality. Cross your fingers with me that the starry eyed CEO claim actually has some merit to it, and then donate funds to the Kick mulberry sale starter project I am going to fund immediately after that!
Read more at the BBC.
Tagged InIt extremely misleading to say three out of seven launches are total failures. Rocket science requires system testing that involves attempting launches. The launches that didn make it to orbit were the first three test launches. They were not full system launches carrying cargo. The early launches contributed to knowledge of things to improve, which was done, and since then there have been no problems.
Saying 3 out of 7 are failures is like saying more than 50% of Microsoft software is a total failure, by including early test builds of prototype software that had bugs that were since corrected. It just not a true assertion since a fully functioning program is not expected at that stage in development, so not having it can not possibly be construed as a failure. Likewise, a successful launch to orbit is not the expected outcome of early prototype launch testing. The 3 launches were in fact total successes because they were a necessary part of debugging the rocket hardware.
For those following along, the 3 out of 7 criticism originated in an article by Loren Thompson, a high paid public relations consultant working for Lockeed Martin, Space X rival. First, shipping fuel in advance saves you nothing. In order to manufacture fuel on Mars using the atmosphere you would need a very small 100kw nuclear power source (very doable)about 5tons of preshipped LH feedstock, and a container (could even be the return ship) to store it in. You need about 1kg of hydrogen feedstock shipped from earth to manufacture 20kg of methanol/oxygen fuel, utilizing the CO2 from the martian atmosphere.
Second, using nuclear thermalrockets, or exotic electric propulsion to get you to mars faster doesnt help all that much sinceits wiser to use that additional propulsion to move more cargo and get thereduring the6 month time frame as any return window wont open up for at least 2 years after arriving no matter what, and the additional expense of keeping a ship in space for 2 years (3 with the fast track to mars)operational waiting to return a manned crew is very high risk. Much more risky to the health of passengers is 0g environment, which can be easily mitigated by rotating the crew module with another along a tether. Also, the older the crew, the less impact cosmic or solar radiation will have on them long term.
Also going to the moon doesnt help support this type of mars mission at all since the moon and mars are very very different. Mars has usable in situ resources to make things like fuel from (for now) low quantities of shipped in hydrogen feedstock, and eventually hydrogen extracted from water ice. The moon has none of that, lower gravity, and adding the extra layer of complexity of supporting moon infrastructure is bound to make any mars mission much more expensive and complicated than it has to be.
If Elon Musk says we can get there and back for $500k, I dont think it would be too much of a strech to be able to get passengers, in the far future, to Mars permanently as a colonist for around that figure. Thats the price of a decent house in the US and is definitely doable.
Becausethefaster you get there the morethrust you need and more mulberry sale fuel, especially to slow down. Having a ship travelingwith a deltav of 3.5km/s can be slowed down using aerobraking in the Martian atmosphere and also would allowfor a free return trajectory should landing be impossible. Having a ship travelto marsin 30 days would have to be traveling over 7km/s, far too fast for aerobraking requiring more fuel to slow the ship down and making free return impossible.
If Space X goes by the Mars Direct plan in some fashion, then refueling on Mars is simply the task of converting the carbon dioxide in its atmosphere into methane.
This would mean an initial unmanned ship would be sent first to draw in carbon dioxide and produce methane through the Sabatier reaction (by bringing an initial small mass of hydrogen to Mars.) The same plant could also produce water and air for the coming astronauts the need of stocking too much mass for crew supplies on the way to the Red Planet and on its surface.
Such a process is called Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) and is very popular among space mission architectures to any planetary body.
Unlike the older comments which comically mention the use of such fuel is scarce off Earth. Should Space X decide to allow their Merlin engines to use methane as well as kerosene or hydrogen, then the plan of settling the Red Planet according to Musk becomes all the more feasible.
I am very skeptical about this it costs NASA and ESA billions to get to Mars. And its not like the people working for them are anything less than some of the best scientists in the world. Unless this company have a serious scientific breakthrough, i don see how it can be done.
I read a quote once that said its more difficult to land on Mars than it is to throw a basketball from one side of America to the other, and have it land in a hoop without touching the sides!
Mars gravity is high enough to have an atmosphere, which makes it difficult to fire rockets on the descent, so parachutes, right? No, because the atmosphere is too thin to slow you down enough, terminal velocity is really really high still. So they have to use a combination of rockets, parachutes and air bags. Compared to the Moon, Mars is much harder to land on.
And as much as i love Space, and dream of going there, i have to say that pretty much everything out there is designed to kill you. Our own Sun is lethal to us without our atmosphere! Mars is a very unforgiving place, one small mistake in those months could cost you your life. And the isolation is pretty severe it takes a few minutes for communication via radio to get to the Earth.
And then when you actually there, what are you planning on doing? Walking around on the surface of Mars in a space suit? Not my idea of fun really. Its just mud and rocks, and its cold and dark too, the Sun is so far away.
We need a warp drive, or some other technological breakthrough so we can visit other stars. That when the real fun starts! Second Earths, possible aliens etc. Much better than visiting dead rocks in our solar system.
course we need better technology, but why wait until this happens? Why did we let 40+ years pass after landing men on the moon? Some say at the time risks were taken to achieve an objective that is always the case to get ahead. Today we can reduce risks on all levels, but not eliminate them totally. Even commercial air travel today is NOT without risks!
As to NASA and ESA, typically government agencies are very inefficient, due to a multilevel hierarchical organizational mulberry sale structure, so cost is always disproportionally high. Musks corporate hierarchy is flat, waste of resources is low, consequently such organization is much more efficient.