SpaceX Proposes Permanent Human Habitation on Mars

Gmac

Peacock
Gold Member
I didn't see this posted anywhere yet... fascinating stuff.

Elon Musk’s Mars mission: all the news from the big announcement

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On September 27, Elon Musk announced a bold new plan to establish a permanent human habitation on Mars with his company SpaceX. It's one of the most ambitious schemes Musk — or humanity in general — has ever attempted, relying on huge advances in both rocketry and spaceship construction. Follow along here for the latest news about the project, and whether Musk can succeed in his longheld dream of bringing humanity to Mars.
http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/27/13074266/elon-musk-spacex-mars-mission-2016-announcement-news

But there's more...


Today, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled the Mars vehicle — the spaceship his company plans to build to transport the first colonists to Mars. The spaceship is meant to launch from Earth on top of the booster and then travel the rest of the way on its own to the Red Planet.

Though not finalized, the first spaceship will probably be named "Heart of Gold," a reference to the spacecraft in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It will have a diameter of 17 meters.

The plan is to send about 100 people per trip, though Musk wants to ultimately take 200 or more per flight to make the cost cheaper per person. The trip can take as little as 80 days or as many as 150 depending on the year and the technology. The hope is that the transport time will be only 30 days "in the more distant future."

The rocket booster will have a diameter of 12 meters and the stack height will be 122 meters. The spaceship should hold a cargo of up to 450 tons depending on how many refills can be done with the tanker.

As rumored, the Mars vehicle will be reusable and the spaceship will refuel in orbit. This is key, according to Musk, because refueling in orbit makes the trip much cheaper and hence more doable. Similarly, it’s inefficient to bring propellant for the return trip. Ideally, a team would build a propellant plant on Mars and send the ships back that way. (This is supposedly possible given the natural resources on the Red Planet.)



The trip will work like this: First, the spaceship will launch out of Pad 39A, which is under development right now at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida. At liftoff, the booster will have 127,800 kilonewtons of thrust, or 28,730,000 pounds of thrust. Then, the spaceship and booster separate.

The spaceship heads to orbit, while the booster heads back to Earth, coming back within about 20 minutes. Back on Earth, the booster lands on a launch mount and a propellant tanker is loaded onto the booster. The entire unit — now filled with fuel — lifts off again. It joins with the spaceship, which is then refueled in orbit. The propellant tankers will go up anywhere from three to five times to fill the tanks of the spaceship.

The spaceship finally departs for Mars. To make the trip more attractive for its crew members, Musk promises that it’ll be "really fun" with zero-G games, movies, cabins, games, a restaurant.

Once it reaches Mars, the vehicle will land on the surface, using its rocket engines to lower itself gently down to the ground. The spaceship’s passengers will use the vehicle, as well as cargo and hardware that’s already been shipped over to Mars, to set up a long-term colony. At the rate of 20 to 50 total Mars trips, it will take anywhere from 40 to 100 years to achieve a fully self-sustaining civilization with one million people on Mars, says Musk.

Musk hasn’t yet addressed details about where people will live and eat, as well as some of the health-related concerns such as how the astronauts will deal with living in microgravity. For example, the ship in the promotional video doesn’t appear to be rotating to create artificial gravity, which raises questions about what it will be like inside and the amount of exercise that the astronauts would need to do to stay healthy.

The CEO also seemed unconcerned about solar radiation, which can cause serious cardiovascular disease, among other complications. "The radiation thing is often brought up, but it’s not too big of a deal," he says. There is a "slightly increased risk" of cancer, he says, and there will probably be some sort of shielding.

This will not be a one-way trip: it’s important to give people the option of returning, even if they decide not to go. And, in any case, "we need the spaceship back."

He provided few details on who first pioneers will be. "We’re trying to make it such that anyone can go" with "maybe a few days of training," he says. Musk does note that there will probably be no children since because the risk of fatality is high and astronauts need to be "prepared to die."

But hey, there’s always the zero-G games on the way there.
http://www.theverge.com/2016/9/27/13058990/mars-mission-spaceship-announced-elon-musk-spacex
 

Suits

 
The spaceship finally departs for Mars. To make the trip more attractive for its crew members, Musk promises that it’ll be "really fun" with zero-G games, movies, cabins, games, a restaurant.
Sex?
 

Thomas More

Hummingbird
Somebody's going to dog Musk a couple posts down for having all of his businesses depend on government money, either by direct govt contracts, or tax subsidies. However, the guy has a huge vision, and he's making it happen.

I've followed the private rocket industry for 20 years. Many private space companies have started up and failed, such as Roton, Kisler, and several others. Some had big bucks guys who tried to follow Musk's approach, but after running through $250 million, they had to pull the plug. They built and tested rocket engines, and got pretty far with their designs, but the problem was too hard.

It's not too hard for Musk. People working for him all say he's aware of the engineering details to an incredible degree throughout his rockets, cars, factories, etc. He is the engineering genius that makes his companies able to actually meet technical goals that previously were out of reach.

Musk's vision is simple, save the world. First, replace fossil fuel cars with electric cars charged from roof top solar panels. Second, establish an off planet copy of human civilization, so we don't have all our eggs in one basket. Probably not many people on this forum are as ambitious in their goals.

Ten years ago, these goals were pure science fiction. Now Musk has gotten far enough along with his game plan that you have to take him seriously. He might not found a Mars colony and single handedly switch the world over to electric cars charged from roof top solar, when it's all said and done.

However, he's on track right now 10 years in, and that's pretty damned impressive.
 

Mochihunter

Woodpecker
I've heard from a friend that the reason Musk is such an aggressive business man is because he's using his other companies to fund SpaceX
 

Slim Shady

Ostrich
Gold Member
Rush Limbaugh was ragging on "idiots like Stephen Hawking" who say that we should go to Mars or expire as a species, and he attributed their cause for saying this to be global warming.

It is not. We need to go to Mars because we need to eventually get out of the Solar System, and get to other parts of the Galaxy.

Humanity has an expiration date -> when the Solar System becomes uninhabitable as we approach the death of the Sun.

I encourage everyone to read the works of Isaac Asimov.
 
@Slim Shady, the death of the Sun isn't going to happen for another billions of of years. We got time. That said, I've generally been a critic of Elon Musk (as I work in renewable energy I know most of the stuff he has in terms of Tesla, the Power Wall and SolarCity is nonsense). I will say I don't understand how he can use his other businesses to find Space X - last I checked both Tesla and SolarCity are in massive debt.

However I love this idea. It's fantastic and for this I applaud Mr. Musk. Irrespective of whether it works, just having someone actually try to colonize Mars is a huge step forward. This is a truly ASPIRATIONAL goal, something I think humanity hasn't had since maybe the moon landing or the eradication of polio. It's definitely a 'holy shit, we're actually going to try to colonize Mars' moment. Something HUGE we can look forward to. I'm excited.
 
I don't mind the idea of a Mars colony, but I do wish he'd stop using my money to fund it in the form of all the government bennies he's getting.

Not a fan of Mr. Musk at all.

Tesla is an expensive toy for rich people. Solar panels are now, and probably always will be, a massive joke except for specialized applications. I pay enough taxes, and I shouldn't be forced to pay for either of these things.
 

Suits

 
RoastBeefCurtains4Me said:
Somebody's going to dog Musk a couple posts down for having all of his businesses depend on government money, either by direct govt contracts, or tax subsidies.
SamuelBRoberts said:
I don't mind the idea of a Mars colony, but I do wish he'd stop using my money to fund it in the form of all the government bennies he's getting.

I pay enough taxes, and I shouldn't be forced to pay for either of these things.
:mindblown:

RoastBeef, do you have the psychic ability to see the future or just a time-share on a crystal ball?
 
It needs to be pointed out. If he wants to make a toy company or a feel-good solar power company for yuppies, that's his right, and more power to him.

But I have no respect for someone who wants to take my cash and use it to sell things to people who make ten times what I do, so that they can feel all futuristic.
 

Alsos

Kingfisher
"28,730,000 pounds of thrust"

For comparison, a Saturn V had 7,890,000lbs of thrust at liftoff. So, this booster has roughly 3.5x the thrust of what LC39A was designed for - studies during Apollo days of a three-core Saturn V derivative akin to the Delta-IV Heavy showed they'd have to launch from a remote island because of the noise (even more so for the four- and five-core arrangements studied). I may go into the hearing aid or window replacement business in Cocoa Beach if this looks like it will actually happen...

Opinions of Musk and his businesses aside - assume this happens, and in the time frame claimed, the obvious question is: WYG (Would You Go)?
 

Slim Shady

Ostrich
Gold Member
I have rigorously gone over Tesla's financials in Business School, and I agree they are very much propped up, and the financials are shit.

SolarCity and some of his other companies might have been very bad, sure.

However, I sincerely believe that this is one of the few times where Government needfully comes into play - for the greater good of humanity, and the survival of the human race.

I know that the expiration is a long time into the future, but to me it looks as though it will take so much time and effort to have cross galactic travel, that we need to start right now.

In a way I still think that this follows free market economics. Why? Because it still follows utility functions, only here it is for major utility gained in the very long term. So long term in fact that we do not even realize that we need it yet. That is also the argument for investing in alternative energy now.

It's all very much Asimov's "Zeroeth Law"


Genghis Khan said:
@Slim Shady, the death of the Sun isn't going to happen for another billions of of years. We got time. That said, I've generally been a critic of Elon Musk (as I work in renewable energy I know most of the stuff he has in terms of Tesla, the Power Wall and SolarCity is nonsense). I will say I don't understand how he can use his other businesses to find Space X - last I checked both Tesla and SolarCity are in massive debt.

However I love this idea. It's fantastic and for this I applaud Mr. Musk. Irrespective of whether it works, just having someone actually try to colonize Mars is a huge step forward. This is a truly ASPIRATIONAL goal, something I think humanity hasn't had since maybe the moon landing or the eradication of polio. It's definitely a 'holy shit, we're actually going to try to colonize Mars' moment. Something HUGE we can look forward to. I'm excited.
 

Gmac

Peacock
Gold Member
SamuelBRoberts said:
It needs to be pointed out. If he wants to make a toy company or a feel-good solar power company for yuppies, that's his right, and more power to him.

But I have no respect for someone who wants to take my cash and use it to sell things to people who make ten times what I do, so that they can feel all futuristic.
Seriously?

I think Musk understands his role in the future of space exploration. He isn't going to put all the pieces together or fund the entire thing but he has some fantastic ideas. Someone has to lead the way, even if it isn't NASA 100% of the time.
 

Slim Shady

Ostrich
Gold Member
Not yet.

Maybe they can eventually by selling space tourism, and using the profits to fund the research, but the markup on each tour would be massive.

Anyways I think Government funding is acceptable uniquely in a case such as this. We can just move towards a privatized NASA type situation, and have private companies competing for the funding based on progress. Ofcourse a lot of corruption oversight might be necessary.


Handsome Creepy Eel said:
Can they do it without taxpayer money though?
 

weambulance

Hummingbird
Gold Member
I've written about this before on the forum.

The time issue has nothing to do with the sun dying out, and everything to do with what we have available on earth. We will run out of easy stored energy at some point. If we don't develop advanced technology that allows us to not need the easy energy anymore before we run out of oil/coal/etc, we will never develop that tech. It's a window that will close someday, at least for our species. Earth will be around long enough that if humanity vanishes, there will be plenty of time for another species to gain sentience and find their own fresh oil reserves in a hundred million years or more.

The novel The Mote in God's Eye goes into the energy window concept somewhat.

I think it's worthy to get off planet. I'd be happy to help if I knew how. But if Elon Musk wants to do something for energy tech on Earth, he should stop working on dumb shit like electric cars and solar panels and get deep into nuclear power generation and fuels other than gasoline and diesel. Good luck with that, though. The radical environmentalists are doing all they can to doom humanity in the long run by sabotaging our energy technology development.
 

TheFinalEpic

Pelican
Gold Member
There are only two outcomes for Elon musk: he becomes the first person in modern times worth in excess of 100 billion, colonizes Mars, and forever has his name in the texts of history. The only other outcome is complete bankruptcy once Trump gets in and cuts all his companies subsidies.
 
I'm going to politely disagree with weambulance. Our oil and gas reserves are good for several centuries. Same goes with nuclear. I agree with the opposition from environmentalists being a problem, but the moment that opposition starts having a serious economic cost (I.e. People dying because not enough energy) - watch how everyone wants nuclear power.

A few other things:
1. Despite the bad publicity solar and wind have gotten, they can indeed supply power for about 30% of the current grid without any power outages. Once you pass 30% all bets are off.
2. Many people are working on smart grid technologies, demand-side management and distributed grids. It is not inconceivable that in a few decades time you could surpass the 30% for renewable energy (with some much needed advances in storage technology).
3. There is tremendous amount of money in energy research. The price of solar itself has dropped a staggering amount, almost hitting grid parity in many place. That's just one technology.
4. One potential energy source is nuclear fusion. Despite the delays in ITER operation, this is possible the holy grail of energy. I would not be surprised if within a century or two most of our electricity comes from fusion energy.

In a nutshell: there is a lot of R&D being done in terms of energy. Don't forget, the energy industry accounts for approx. 10% of the global economy. It's huge. Expect to see many changes in the next several decades. Though the vast vast majority of them will not originate from Elon.
 
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