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Mars Transportation

SpaceX Wants To Go To Mars — and Has a Plan To Get There 236

Posted by timothy
from the it's-not-earth-musk's-after dept.
mknewman writes with an article at NASA SpaceFlight which lays out the details of a plan from SpaceX to send a craft to Mars, using an in-development engine ("Raptor") along with the company's Super Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle. "Additionally, Mr. Musk also introduced the mysterious MCT project, which he later revealed to be an acronym for Mars Colonial Transport. This system would be capable of transporting 100 colonists at a time to Mars, and would be fully reusable. Article is technically dense but he does seem to follow through on his promises!" This is an endeavor that's been on Elon Musk's mind for a while.
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SpaceX Wants To Go To Mars — and Has a Plan To Get There

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  • by ModernGeek (601932) on Saturday March 08, 2014 @10:14PM (#46437585) Homepage
    I'm wondering if the Mars One project hasn't had a more complex working relationship than previously thought. For all we know, Mars One could just be a separatist marketing arm of Elon Musk.
  • I wrote the article! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by baldusi (139651) on Saturday March 08, 2014 @11:47PM (#46437891)

    Glad that yoy liked it. That engine is an enabler. Methane/oxygen works incredibly well in gas-gas cycle. It's unbeatable for that.
    What I can tell is that Elon is serious in his desires. But you have to understand that the reason for that is that he has the vision and he's actually doing an ambitious but realistic plan. Next week flight will have legs on the first stage. And they'll try to pin point land it on the sea. If they do, the guys at the Cape with the big red button might let them try to land it in US soild next. But if not, that's still the cheapest rocket in its category in the world. Their modus operandi is realistic and bold. We'd better follow him because we might be watching history in the making.

  • Re:Groovy ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chas (5144) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @12:54AM (#46438033) Homepage Journal

    Because there's not enough room here.

    Bullshit. If it weren't for human greed, this planet could easily support a population TWICE what it is today.

    There's plenty of physical space on the planet to house everyone with plenty of space so that people aren't stacked like sardines.

    Also, shipping people off to another planet to build dinky little concrete bunkers as "outposts" is no solution either.
    We need the technology to actually turn Mars into a truly habitable, usable world. Even if the surface is a wasteland.

    The big bullet points are this.

    1: Sending people to Mars isn't a huge deal. We could do it today if we wanted.
    2: Sending the equipment and supplies necessary to set up a sustainable colony is, at this point, VASTLY prohibitive.
    3: In addition you have the same problems for transporting the fuel and supplies necessary for a full RETURN TRIP as well in case of disaster. Whatever the bright eyed suicide wannabes think, we shouldn't be sending people to Mars with "death" being the only way off the planet.

    In short, it might be better to build a colony satellite in Mars orbit first. This way you can shuttle people to and from the planet, as well as set up as a resupply depot without the massive physical hurdles of precision landing fragile gear and supplies on-planet. So, a couple of closely spaced (pun unintentional) two-way missions with the hulls for the beginnings of a space station. And more modules can be brought in with future missions.

    Continue this way until it's we have a safety net to build a sizeable facility on-planet.
    Once the on-planet facility is built and vetted, move a portion of the supplies on-planet.

    Slower, but much safer in the long run than just shooting people out to the planet to die.

  • Re:Groovy ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KeensMustard (655606) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @01:43AM (#46438169)
    Err. No. If we are responsible for the extinction of other species, it's time for us to stop doing that. Escapism isn't the way to tackle life's problems, and we won't escape our propensity for stupidity by shifting locations.

    And if external events are of concern to you, note that even at the height of those events, the Earth was more habitable than anywhere else. Even as the asteroids rained down, even as dust plumed into the stratosphere and temperatures first rose, then plunged, the earth remain more habitable than any place that is "not-earth". If you are concerned for the survival of the species, you should be urging us to stay.

  • by l0n3s0m3phr34k (2613107) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @01:51AM (#46438191)
    We will see a spike in human evolution once we have children on Mars too. Should prove interesting, less gravity, different radiation levels, different food, even different bacteria. Taller, skinner, different skin color...each new generation will be further from the "Baseline" until eventually it becomes it's own species, unable to reproduce with Earthers.
  • Re:Groovy ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TuringCheck (1989202) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @02:49AM (#46438299)
    Isn't "death" the only way off this planet too?

    Besides, colonisation of planets requires people reproducing there, as a result their descendanta being unable to live on Earrh. Sending people by rocket is too expensive to be used for population export.

  • by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @03:41AM (#46438417) Journal

    Of course for the real exploration of the solar system to begin, we'll need nuclear (fusion!) or other such unrealized technologies.

    I'm not sure I'd call nuclear "unrealized." [wikipedia.org] From the sounds of it, they had something ready to be assembled.

  • Re:Good (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Applehu Akbar (2968043) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @03:27PM (#46441179)

    Monopolies cannot arise in a free market, because for any lucrative business, competition always springs up. To get monopoly power today, you have to take government officials out for squab and cigars, and arrange for the force of law to prevent others from competing with you. GE and Comcast became monopolies by doing exactly that. When they impose self-serving restrictions on your ability to stream their content, they enforce high prices and restrictive policies.

    IBM is not a good example at all for your argument, because it never had a monopoly, even in the mainframe days. I can remember the BUNCH (Burroughs, Univac, NCR, Control Data, Honeywell) as competitors. IBM prospered during this time because its mainframes were actually better than anyone else's. As computers went mini and then micro, all vestiges of IBM's market power disappeared, and it never came back.

    Now let's look at an actual modern monopoly: the medical industry. It's ludicrously overpriced because pharma companies use the FDA's enforcement powers to keep competition of the market and to even prevent consumers from shopping around for the same drugs being offered in lower-cost markets.

    Drug and device testing is a vital function, but if we stripped the FDA of its power to keep products off the market, making its approvals advisory, not mandatory, and to allow consumers to shop around, medicine would slide down the learning curve just as semiconductors did, and in general become as cheap and innovative as the IT industry. People would still be free to take a conservative approach and buy only FDA-approved products, but those willing to a little more adventurous would enjoy vastly lower prices.

    And did you know that in most states it is illegal for a consumer to get a list of hospital prices for various procedures? This is a classic application of governmental monopoly power, and is the reason why even a routine appendectomy varies wildly in price from one hospital to another.

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