Tuesday, February 7, 2012

SpaceX Dragon's ultimate mission is Mars colonization

gizmag.com h/t Transterrestrial Musings

  • Musk said that he wants to see 10,000 people living on Mars in the near future - preferably, millions of people.
  • private enterprise takes over space exploration in a manner not seen since the early days of the Hudson's Bay Company. Over half a dozen companies are working on sending tourists on suborbital pleasure flights while others are testing orbital hotels.
  • The Falcon 1 booster was built with an eye on the much larger Falcon 9, which was was built looking forward to a Falcon variant that will be larger and more powerful than NASA's famed Saturn V booster that sent the first men to the Moon. 
  • Musk hopes to achieve this is by taking proven rocket designs, simplifying them and streamlining them as much as possible in order to build them quickly and cheaply
  • Musk believes that the key to making spaceflight cheap is to make the flight components reliable and that means reusable
  • This program of reliability, reusability, reduced cost, mission endurance and an attitude of "why engineer when you can over-engineer?" certainly fits in with Musk's vision of opening up the Solar System to colonization. 
  • It also has eerie echoes of the Age of Exploration when Europeans set out on voyages of discovery in off the peg merchant and war ships
Note: all emphasis added were mine.


In the end, it won't be governments that do this.  Incentives for governments are to spend the most money possible, with no need make profits.  But private enterprise cannot exist in the midst of such inefficiency.

When it comes to space, as with most everything else, the "government is not the solution, it is the problem".

Another observation is that nothing like this can be undertaken without someone who has the vision and the courage to do it.  When a politician, like Gingrich proposes it, he will be mocked.  Thus, for politicians, such an ambition is greatly discouraged.  It may take a "Sputnik moment" to rouse the politicians into action- with one fear as the motivating factor being replaced by another.  Even then, the result will be like Apollo- a one time project that only becomes something of a circus that will entertain the public.

Read it all.

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