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Mars Transportation

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

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 the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Saturday March 08, 2014 @11:21PM (#46437617)

    Elon Musk = D.D. Harriman, only with bigger dreams.

    And not a fictional character.

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 09, 2014 @12:29AM (#46437843)
    Why is putting humans into a forbidding, empty, hostile radiation-blasted hell so important?
  • Re:Good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @12:30AM (#46437845) Homepage Journal

    I don't think that this is "America", per se. This is more like "A small group of Americans", that small group consisting of Musk, his partners in crime, and his employees, with a few fanbois (like myself) thrown in for good measure. "America" is more concerned with petty nonsense, like appeasing the Muslims, gay marriage, and so-called "reality shows". And, that little freak who escaped protective custody in Canada - what's his name? Beiber?

  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @01:07AM (#46437953) Journal

    A new plane doesn't make a new engine possible. A new engine makes a new plane possible.

    It's great that there Elon Musk is pushing out gains in performance, reusability and most importantly cost in chemical engine design! Kudos to him (and his company).

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

  • Terrible writing. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by labradore ( 26729 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @01:08AM (#46437955)

    Is anyone making sense of this? I know what all the terms are but the facts are more or less jumbled up together in ways that don't lend themselves to meaningful comparison.

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

    by blueturffan ( 867705 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @01:16AM (#46437971)

    Groovy ... but before I care, SpaceX needs to first have humans in space.

    Then I'll give a quid about their plans for space travel.

    I mean, if they haven't done a manned space flight to outside the atmosphere, it is far-fetched to be running before you can walk or even stand.

    The end.

    When Kennedy made his famous "We choose to go to the moon" speech, the USA had exactly 1 successful manned spaceflight - that being Alan Shepard's 15-minute suborbital hop. SpaceX has multiple successful launches, and are working on a manned version of their Dragon spacecraft.

    What Musk is doing is pointing to a finish line that will take many years to accomplish. There will likely be setbacks along the way, but like Kennedy he's setting a grand vision -- hopefully I'll see that vision realized in my lifetime.

  • You know, if you're going to talk about the explosion of 1 (out of 9) rockets on one launch, you really should also mention the fact that they were able to complete the primary mission anyhow... they lost one nozzle, it shut down automatically, the fuel was diverted to the other nozzles, and they burned a little longer. They successfully rendezvoused with the ISS anyhow, despite a moderately explosive engine failure during launch. Let that sink in for a moment. Many rockets wouldn't even have been able to reach orbit in the case of a nozzle simply shutting down, much less blowing up.

    In fairness to your complaint, though, the secondary goal of the mission was not attempted. SpaceX said they could give 95% assurance that the satellite would reach its safe orbit (not putting the ISS at risk), but NASA required over 99% assurance. Due to the extra fuel they'd had to burn, this could not be guaranteed. Still, it was highly likely they could have pulled it off, and likely would have tried under different circumstances. []

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

    by cbhacking ( 979169 ) <been_out_cruisin ... om ['hoo' in gap> on Sunday March 09, 2014 @03:06AM (#46438231) Homepage Journal

    TWICE, eh? Look up the doubling time on world population. Hell, I'll do it for you: []
    The short version is, given enough resources, the human population can now double more than once just in a single lifetime. We expect to hit a peak at around 2025 - that's barely over a decade away, now - but if we instead did away with that "human greed" you claim would allow supporting twice as many people, that would give a reprieve of somewhere between 20 years (assuming the historical trend of "each doubling takes half the time of the one before" holds) to possibly as much as 50 years (the estimate for the time to get from half the predicted 2025 pop to 2025). Then we're full up, again.

    Aside from your 3rd point, which is frankly stupid (we've been sending people into space without an escape option for half a century now even though recovery from low earth orbit isn't nearly as hard, and yeah, sometimes they died...) the rest of what you say is probably true enough, or at least worth considering. But the argument that we could double the Earth's carrying capacity, as though that would grant more than a few decades reprieve, is bogus. We need a better option.

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

    by TFAFalcon ( 1839122 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @06:20AM (#46438677)

    Settling space doesn't imply abandoning Earth. It just increases the chance that at least some humans will survive in case something takes out Earth.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Sunday March 09, 2014 @04:58PM (#46441333) Homepage

    Monopolies cannot arise in a free market, because for any lucrative business, competition always springs up.

    Utter nonsense. In an unregulated market, any sufficiently large company will be tempted to use its resources to exclude competition, e.g. by temporary selling its products at a loss where/whenever a competitor appears, until that competitor runs out of money and goes out of business, at which point prices can be jacked up again. No subversion of government is required to keep the competitors out, only a large-enough cash reserve.

Make it myself? But I'm a physical organic chemist!