If this works, they're going to be much closer to building completely and rapidly re-usable spacecraft. I think their end goal is to have about a 1-hour turnaround time. Spaceships will become like airplanes, and we'll have the new frontier on our hands. This type of re-usability is what makes SpaceX's Mars plans so possible in the short term and why everyone else seems to think humans on Mars won't be until the 2030s or 2040s. With this type of technology, shipping supplies and people to Mars will be so much cheaper than anyone has ever really envisioned. I can't wait to move there!
I'm quite certain that Elon plans to have a massive ramp-up in trips to Mars over the next 5 years. The software team that did their AMA on reddit a while ago was very clear that we should expect to buy tickets to Mars inside a decade - this certainly means that SpaceX will start ferrying supplies, fuel reactors and everything else necessary to Mars (via Red Dragons?) in about 5 years.
> With this type of technology, shipping supplies and people to
> Mars will be so much cheaper than anyone has ever really
> envisioned. I can't wait to move there!
Exciting for humanity, yes! A nice place to go live? Probably not for
another 100 years or so. I'm interested in why you'd be so keen to move there.
Personally, I think Mars is a destination for robots and tourists, not permanent colonies, as it's basically a hostile shithole. Of all the hostile shitholes in the solar system, there are others I'd rather visit, like Europa or Io. But to each their own.
Actually, it would be like signing up for a Peace Corps tour in Antarctica, first travelling there for 6 months on a tiny 4-man nuclear submarine, then arriving to build then live in an underground city where the outside atmosphere is more rarefied than at the top of K2 and drier than most deserts.
> it's basically a hostile shithole
The only reason we think the Earth is so great is that we evolved to live there. Otherwise, it would be a shithole at the bottom of an annoyingly deep gravity well and annoyingly dense corrosive atmosphere.
Technology changes everything, though.
I think it's a cool idea, but people seem to severely underestimate the difficulty.
For that reason I think it's likely we will never see a real permanent Mars colony effort, only small research stuff, just like what we have w/ Antarctica.
Colonizing Mars is completely irrational, correct. But so was going to space in the first place, so was sailing around the Earth, so was any sort of flight.
It boils down to what motivates and excites people. What makes the future a compelling, interesting one.
No, no, no. Those were not irrational.
When the first explorers were sailing around the Earth, it was for the sake of exploration, and the possibility of riches/gold/spices. But it certainly wasn't entirely rational, as a lot of them didn't know where they were going, and had no idea of what they'd find when they got there.
I think the current most significant effort to colonize Mars is also rational: Elon Musk wants to do it because it's something that's valuable to him personally to accomplish.
I don't think doing something (e.g. colonizing other planets) for the sake of our distant ancestors is rational. That is self-sacrificial. No value is being pursued.
Geez, Mike, I know this isn't your first reading of such threads on HN.
How about vastly easier access to most of the resources in the Solar System?
Is that really true though? Mars isn't vastly close to the asteroid belt and Jupiter systems.
A quick and dirty lookup in Wolfram Alpha tells me that the distance from Mars to main asteroid belt is comparable to the distance from Earth to Mars. Given that we've yet to land or park in orbit a single earth-grazing asteroid, isn't that actually still vastly far ?
Vastly easier in economic terms. The gravity well of Earth is just deep enough that it becomes annoying for creatures whose technology depends on molecular bonds to escape.
EDIT: Take a look at this thread: http://www.reddit.com/r/space/comments/1ktjfi/deltav_map_of_...
"This is the simple physics fact that I use to blow peoples minds. It takes more energy to crash a rocket into the sun than it does to crash a rocket into Pluto."
I don't believe that's what the chart shows. It talks about the energy differences of orbits. You need to knock off delta-v if you want to orbit at the chromosphere, but not if you want to crash into it.
And in fact, CuriousMetaphor pointed that out in a child comment to that quote.
Still, it's something that might well seem counterintuitive to people not familiar with orbital mechanics.
I submit that the comment "It takes more energy to crash a rocket into the sun than it does to crash a rocket into Pluto" focuses wrongly on energy, when the important factor is time. Delta-v computed by Hohmann transfer orbits are simple to compute, yes, but leads to an "intuition" which excludes things like low-energy transfer trajectories.
So it's not that hard to convince terrestrials to use an alternate-but-still-terrestrial energy model, where the Sun is at the top of a high peak, the Earth is on the flank of the mountain, Pluto is near the base, and the terrain is rough enough that things don't just roll down the hill.
That image you showed, with delta-v based on Hohmann transfer orbits, maps directly to that terrestrial energy model. As that energy model is obviously wrong - there is no friction in space - it means that that delta-v map is inadequate as a teaching method.
Yes, you've gone from crystal spheres to epicycles, but you can't use that new knowledge to understand most of the routes that we actually use for spacecraft.
Take the planned Solar Probe Plus as a quite relevant example. Its original plan was to fly by Jupiter, but now it's expected to use multiple flybys of Venus.
You cannot explain that with a delta-v map. Moreover, I argue that pointing to a delta-v map as an explanation is itself a sign of a terrestrial mindset.
To get back to the topic of "crash into the Sun" and "crash into Pluto" - to the best of my understanding, it's easier to build a rocket that can crash into the Sun than can crash into Pluto, and it takes less time to achieve that goal.
Once you can reach L2, you can crash into anything in the Solar System, if you're willing to wait long enough. Reaching Pluto takes a very long time, so it's much more likely to be affected small unforeseen events, like solar storms. Corrections require propulsion. Propulsion control requires computers. Computers require energy. All of these require mass. A Pluto-crash mission requires more mass than a Solar-crash mission, so is harder to build to get to L2 in the first place.
We don't build foundries next to iron mines.
We don't cut diamonds next to diamond mines.
We don't put textile factories in the middle of cotton fields.
We ship bauxite to where electricity costs are the cheapest.
South Africa is the major producer of many important minerals, but it doesn't control the world's industries.
Why then would economics "favor industry controlled by Mars"?
I can conceive of a future where that's so, but only in timescales of several centuries, and it's not at all obvious that there will be any time when Mars will be more important economically than the Earth.
We do not ship raw materials to the space station, because transportation costs are high.
When did we ever have a refinery above a deep-sea oil well?
When was the diamond cutting industry ever primarily located at diamond mines?
I can think of any number of examples where high transportation costs were never high enough to cause the production site to control "industry" in general, or even the specific industry it was in.
Consider ivory. For several hundred years, Greenland was the main supplier of ivory - specifically walrus ivory - to Europe, until elephant ivory from Africa became more abundant in the 1400s. But Greenland's dominance of a handful of goods (polar bear fur being another), did not lead to "industry controlled by" Greenland.
Beaver pelts would be another example. The market was in Europe, the trapping was done in the US (due to near extinction of the Eurasian beaver). The individual trappers in the American wilds did not control or dominate the fur market - it was the trading companies which did that.
And again I mention South Africa. Its "estimated share of world platinum production amounted to 77%; kyanite and other materials, 55%; chromium, 45%; palladium, 39%; vermiculite, 39%; vanadium, 38%; zirconium, 30%; manganese, 21%; rutile, 20%; ilmenite, 19%; gold, 11%;" and so on.
But the market is so large and complex that domination of those niches doesn't naturally lead to domination of the entire market by South Africa.
And overall market domination is what stcredzero proposes for Mars.
But I can be wrong. What is your scenario for how economics will "favor industry controlled by Mars"?
Refineries are generally located near the ocean, which is to say, economically "close" to transportation.
Ivory, beaver pelts, and platinum are/were relatively concentrated forms of wealth. Terrestrial transportation is not as big an issue with those as it was with, say, the proximity of iron and coke in the US in the earlier days of the industrial revolution. The key point here, is that those resources were controlled by the US.
> The individual trappers in the American wilds did not control or dominate the fur market - it was the trading companies which did that.
They clearly didn't control such trade without local representatives. Nor did Europe retain such control in the long run.
> But the market is so large and complex that domination of those niches doesn't naturally lead to domination of the entire market by South Africa.
Because with modern transportation, everything is now fairly "close." Unless you are dealing with quite large quantities, location is often no longer an issue on Earth.
No, but we did build them next to waterways which facilitated transportation. The oceans are no longer "global" when the relevant context becomes larger than the Earth. In a solar-system wide context, the Earth is like a populous resource-rich country with just a few very poor harbors.
> it's not at all obvious that there will be any time when Mars will be more important economically than the Earth.
I also point this out in another thread here. It's also possible that technology makes the location advantage of Mars moot before it has a large enough population to be a major player and there is a solar-system wide economy to be a player in. It will undoubtedly be important, however.
You believe it's a natural mapping from "ocean travel" to "space travel." This is frequent enough to be a trope at http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SpaceIsAnOcean .
However, you have not established that it's true. Space travel could be more like hovercraft travel. There rare cases where hovercraft are the most appropriate means of transport.
Or to be more generous, it could be like air travel. The air cargo and passenger industry is huge, yes. But it's dwarfed by ship, train, and road transportation.
Nor have I established that it's a false analogy. I've only pointed out many counter-examples of how the premises you've given don't necessarily lead to the conclusion you've reached.
But let's assume that you are correct. South Africa is a resource-rich country with good ports. How come economics doesn't "favor industry controlled by" South Africa, while it will favor Mars that way?
Kenneth Burke gives an example of gradatio, a rhetorical technique: "Who controls Berlin, controls Germany; who controls Germany controls Europe; who controls Europe controls the world". That construct is well-enough known that a Google search for "who controls * controls the world" finds dozens of different examples in the first few pages of hits. Here's a baker's dozen of them:
- He who controls food, controls the world
- He who controls information, controls the world.
- Who controls the moon controls the World
- Whoever Controls Princess Diana, Controls the World
- He who controls the water controls the world
- Who controls Eurasia, controls the world
- He who controls the internet controls the world
- He who controls the branding controls the world
- Who controls money, controls the world
- who controls Jerusalem controls the world's memory.
- He who controls the calendar, controls the world
- he who controls the seas controls the world
- The person who controls the oil controls the world
I can be wrong. How is it likely that Mars will be the center of industry within the next, say, 200 years? What is the process of getting to that point?
You suggest that it's easier access to "most of the resources in the Solar System". How does the economics of that work out? And I don't just mean nickel mining of asteroids, since there's plenty of historical examples - again, South Africa - where raw ore extraction does not lead to overall market control.
Uh, no. You posited a kind of analysis based on the analogy (implied by your invocation of various examples) and I poked a hole in it. Now you are trying to pass it off as mine. No analogies are required. Just look at energy/transportation costs.
I don't know if that was some kind of inefficient reverse-troll or an honest mistake.
> Your argument so far is essentially "Who controls Mars controls the industry of the Solar System."
...based on energy/transportation costs. You seem to have missed that there, then substituted a lot of fluffy logic in its place.
How do energy/transportation costs make Mars the natural industrial hub of the Solar System? You have made a hypothesis, now justify it.
I can come up with no scenario where that's possible in the next 200 years. Indeed, the only way I can do it is to have a sizable population on Mars first, so it builds upon its own internal economy rather than through any sort of trade. It's expensive to get people from Earth to Mars, and there needs to be a big enough population to be self-supporting, even in terms of education and training, so we're talking generations to get to that point.
And if we can put a nucleus of 10,000 people on Mars, to start that colony, then we'll have developed Earth-to-orbit technologies a lot better than we have now.
The explanation you gave - "based on energy/transportation costs" - has not a good predictor of industrial control in world history. Why should it be a given in the Solar System's future history? What is the essential difference between space and ground?
At the very least, you have to show that life-support costs do not dominate the equation. Why wouldn't we have automated mines on Mars, with at most a skeleton oversight crew? Why is it economically more feasible to have a self-supporting colony instead?
Over and over again, in reading about asteroid mining and Lunar and Martian colonization, the answer I read is at best "we have no idea if it's economically feasible" and more often "not economically feasible". While you posit that the answer is obviously weighted in favor of Mars, and not in need of further explanation.
Give me at least a vaguely reasonable scenario for how Mars becomes the natural industrial hub of the Solar System. Otherwise you're handwaving your religion at me.
And for any argument you give, explain why the Moon isn't a better choice.
If your argument depends on this, it is already flawed.
> The explanation you gave - "based on energy/transportation costs" - has not a good predictor of industrial control in world history.
Actually, it was quite a good predictor up to the earlier part of the industrial revolution. It does a nice job of explaining where the industrial centers of the northeastern US appeared. Technologies developed in the industrial revolution are the very ones that changed this situation.
> ...the answer is obviously weighted in favor of Mars
Read The Case for Mars. I don't have the time or desire to discuss this with you in particular.
I actually found your idea of better access to space intriguing. I'd love to discuss it. But not with someone like you.
I find your pose of victimhood incongruous here.
Between that and you calling me "Mike" even though I have no idea who you are, I have to wonder if you think I'm somebody else.
In any case, it's the first time I've seen that rationale. Believe it or not, I don't really care, but it's true.
As for "victimhood", I think you've mistakenly identified "calling out a jerk for being a jerk", which is a different thing.
I'm not the person you are responding to, but why would you be surprised that someone is referring to you as 'Mike'? Your username is, after all, mikeash, and just this week your post on arm64 was on HN and you were participating in that discussion.
This isn't the 19th century, and you're not amongst old-world bluebloods.
Going somewhere is not about being there, but getting there. What we'll have to do to get there is worth the effort.
The Moon is a "hostile shithole", even worse than Mars, but every time I look to that Apollo 8 picture of the Earth rising above the lunar horizon, or read about Neil Armstrong eclipsing the Earth with his gloved thumb, I realize how fragile this world is and how futile our big empires are. It was worth it.
The page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonization_of_the_Moon most certainly does not exist, and even if it did, it would be a lightweight article devoid of serious references.
Note: I'm certainly not suggesting we go live there, but quite obviously it has been suggested. That kind of blanket statement is annoying to me, which is why I responded.
(Short term of course it's going to suck for all the reasons you suggest. But the only way we're going to get better at moving beyond Earth is to start doing it)
I am not the OP, but I'm very interested in moving to Mars at the first chance I get. Why? It certainly isn't about comfort, as you've pointed out. However, to many people, life is about a lot more than creature comforts. The chance to be among the first group of humans to leave our planet and live elsewhere is a unique opportunity that literally only comes once in the history of Earth. It is the first step to securing the universal survival of our species and genesis. It's about meeting new challenges, pushing limits, and proving that we are more than above-average apes beating each other with sticks and sharp objects.
This is very much a philosophical journey as well as a physical one. It's about bringing terrestrial life into the greater universe. It's about realizing the best aspects of humanity, while hoping to discard many of our flaws. It's a new beginning, a new chance. Plus, being a founder of a new society is a chance few people will ever have.
If having all of this means that I will have to live without as many baths, I am all for it.
And frankly, people who are motivated by glory rarely have the introspection needed to really understand their own motivations and sustain commitment. The people who do great things over long periods of time are self-motivated and do it for the love of the thing, not for a dream of glory from others.
Furthermore, I really do think that glory is the most important motivation for moving there. If these people are really highly motivated by "meeting new challenges, pushing limits," well, they can try setting up self-sustaining colonies in deserts or Antarctica today. But no volunteers I know of for that.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is: having a lot of people is beneficial, because then there is likely to be someone who is happy to do the things that you aren't so excited about.
1. It sure does sound like a lot of fun! And dangerous! And thrilling!
2. Fame and glory
3. The chance to explore and directly experience a place no other human has ever been.
4. The opportunity to stake a claim on some new land (and find out what that means). Maybe form a new government! Make new laws... I can see this being quite attractive for groups that feel stifled by Earth (e.g. religious groups, the far left, the far right).
5. The chance to spread humanity to a self-sustained place beyond Earth, as a backup (albeit a fragile one at first).
You're right that Mars would not be a nice place to live, especially in the early days, but that's not why people would go!
I'd prefer a self-sustaining colony on the Moon before attempting Mars. There we can perfect our tools because, on Mars, if you screw up, you'll have to wait at least six months for your rescue mission.
Consider how hostile the peak of Everest is to life. It has been climbed without oxygen masks only a handful of times. Then consider that to achieve an air pressure on Earth equivalent to the Martian surface, you would need to stand on a mountain around FIVE TIMES as high.
"Living" on Mars will be akin to be parking the International Space Station in a frigid, red desert and cowering inside for 99% of the time. Not really living in my book.
tripadvisor badge. 'you visited 2 worlds!'
Its not Antarctica because Antarctica is very heavily claimed at this point. But Mars? You'd be amongst the first colonists of a new planet. You'd be helping build something which may outlast Earthbound habitation, and moves us out of the current resource paradigm (exactly 1 planet).
And unlike LEO you'd have the possibility of the local resources to set up something permanent.
But I mean hey, its not perfect - I'd move to the Asteroid belt or Jupiter system if I could. Though my real enthusiasm would be diverting comets to add water to Venus - since get the atmosphere well, out of the atmosphere and you're looking at Earth 2.
> This was America, or my home country - Australia - about 200 years ago.
> Its not Antarctica because Antarctica is very heavily
> claimed at this point. But Mars? You'd be amongst the
> first colonists of a new planet. You'd be helping
> build something which may outlast Earthbound habitation,
> and moves us out of the current resource paradigm
> (exactly 1 planet).
Which, really makes me hope asteroid mining and Mars colonization is a thing well before then.
The problem comes in when someone definitely finds something, and wants to start a project. Creates a point of friction and that's where you get wars or skirmishes starting.
Also, you should see the size of the vegetables that grow near the poles where they have short summers but very long days,
Some of them don't mind that much, actually. There have even been experiments growing plants with 2 weeks of light followed by 2 weeks of darkness, as on the moon. It can work if the 2 weeks of darkness are also at lowered temperature, which is easy to achieve in the absence of sunlight.
The exotic species of plant used in the experiment? The pea.
Venusian colonisation will have to be sub-surface, even if we cover it in water - at least until if and when we come up with a gigantic solar shield that can filter and weaken a planet's worth of sunlight.
Venusian colonization will probably be high up in the atmosphere, where temperatures and pressures are often going to be around the same as in San Francisco.
I don't think it is something that can be explained. Either it is something that you get, or it just isn't.
Not that it's impossible but escaping the Earth's gravity cheaply isn't the only challenge.
Making propellant on Mars is easy, all you need is Hydrogen and power and you can make 16x as much mass in propellant as the Hydrogen you bring along. And this is with mere kilograms of equipment to process the martian atmosphere. Make no mistake, this is a big deal in a lot of different ways.
So that bootstraps you into being able to effectively explore Mars at all, because now you don't have to ship out all the propellant for the return trip, which is an exponential savings.
Now add to that the fact that Mars has a day similar to Earth and substantial quantities of subsurface ice (and small amounts of water in the surface soil). That means you can use fairly modest capital equipment (stuff you can transport using the same vehicles you send people, and capable of being powered fairly easily) to start mining water ice within the first handful of trips to the planet. Which means that you can have local supplies of: potable water, propellant, fuel for equipment that runs on internal combustion engines, breathable oxygen, and carbon monoxide (which I'll explain the significance of later).
With oxygen, abundant CO2, water, and inflatable structures you can start growing plants on Mars due to the light levels and day lengths. A colony could start supplying some of its own food within less than a decade.
But wait, there's more. Given the low Martian gravity it would be almost trivially easy to create an SSTO RLV that could travel back and forth between the martian surface and orbit, refueling on the surface with locally produced propellant. You could build these on Earth and send them over without crews and just enough propellant to make a powered, parachute assisted landing before being put into service. They could visit a station in Mars orbit which would make it easier to make trips back and forth to Earth.
Additionally, by using a cycler (a spacecraft which is on a permanent trajectory looping between Earth and Mars) you could significantly increase the amount of useful payload you could deliver to Mars and increase the comfort and safety of passengers. Although for bulk cargo you could use electric propulsion to push the cargo out of low Earth orbit over to Mars and then use aerocapture / aerobraking to bring the payloads within reach of an orbital tug at Mars that could bring it to a station where it could be ferried down to the surface.
Back to Martian resources. With carbon monoxide available all you need is energy in order to be able to effectively smelt metals such as iron, copper, or aluminum. Some of the rocks and regolith on Mars are effectively high grade ores, especially of iron. It would not take much equipment to be able to start producing builk amounts of steel. This could be used for all sorts of purposes in expanding a base into a full fledged settlement.
From there things accelerate quickly. It gets easier and easier to send things to Mars, to come back from Mars, and to build things on Mars. Capital investments on Mars start to make a huge amount of sense. A substantial power source on Mars (even just in the single megawatt range) is not merely a lifeline for a base it becomes the seed of a growing industrial base. With power and water you can process the atmosphere and bootstrap the chemical industry with all the products listed above. And with that you can smelt bulk metals, and make glass. You can also start making concrete and other building materials. You can start making buildings and farming structures where only a small fraction of the structure is composed of supplies shipped from Earth.
And that's really just square 1. From there you can move on to more advanced industry, more robust farming, more advanced technology, and so on. The very first visitors to Mars will likely be scientists, but the second wave will be dominated by engineers. Imagine what will be built with the thousands of tonnes of steel, concrete, aluminum, copper, and so forth that will be produced within only the first decade of this primitive industrial capacity coming online. Certainly more than a trailer park in the skies, far more.
Yes, one can do these things, but will the economics work out such that it's actually feasible? For example, solar power on Mars is pitiful, and there are no fossil fuels. Where does the power for industrial production come from? Nuclear reactors? How expensive is it to bootstrap a reactor on another planet? Where does the coolant come from without a nearby river?
Besides which, about 4 million people live in the Sahara today, despite many of the surrounding countries being some of the poorest and least developed on Earth.
The point of living on Mars is not to find the most convenient place possible to live. That would not be Mars, nor would it be the Sahara, nor would it even be Copenhagen, Dubai, or the Netherlands (where 10 million people live on land that used to be under the sea). But people live in those places even so because it turns out there are compelling reasons to live there. Just as, I believe, there are compelling reasons to live on Mars (much more so than in living in the Sahara).
Edit: most people living in the developed world today are swaddled in the embrace of a vast web of advanced technology and industry. The hammer used to build the home down the street was mined and forged an ocean away. The phone you use every day contains components developed and manufactured across a handful of continents. The food you eat could come from next door or across the world. But that web of technology and industry is familiar to us, whereas one involving living on Mars is alien and implausible to our sensibilities. But over the course of decades and centuries as technology advances, as industry develops, as the unusual becomes more commonplace, maybe people will start to view life on Mars in a similar fashion. Maybe it won't seem so impractical when the bounty of martian agriculture feeds substantial populations, when martian industry is a multi-billion dollar or multi-trillion dollar business, when cities full of people exist on Mars, and so on.
Because Mars can 1) support a large human population, with industrial infrastructure, and 2) is situated closer to the majority of the resources of the solar system. It's a foregone conclusion that if humanity gets off the Earth, that Mars will be a future economic superpower.
(The middle of the Sahara and certain places underwater may also become settled for similar reasons: proximity to natural resources. K2, not so much.)
> solar power on Mars is pitiful, and there are no fossil fuels. Where does the power for industrial production come from?
The economics of solar power are completely different for Mars.
Given that Mars is about 1/10th as massive as the Earth, launching from its surface to space is vastly cheaper. In fact, the reduced gravity on Mars is forgiving enough that we can contemplate building a space elevator there with materials that are currently commercially available.
Even if fetal development in microgravity is OK, absent DNA repair technologies, radiation induced decay of the gene pool over the generations may require a continual replenishment of fresh, "unmutated" DNA from Earth--at least until humans evolve sufficiently on Mars. It is not practical to assume no additional radiation exposure on Mars: even if humans are buried underground, and do not come out during the occasional solar storm, they must occasionally walk on the Martian surface. Otherwise it's a robot's world, and human colonization is merely an exercise in preserving the human race though Martian burial in case of Earth apocalypse.
 http://www.everythingology.com/mammalian-reproduction-in-spa...: "These results suggest for the first time that fertilization can occur normally under G environment in a mammal, but normal preimplantation embryo development might require 1G"
Exercise: think of inexpensive ways of mitigating this. Took me about 2 seconds to think of 3.
Low gravity might be an issue. Given the record on biological processes we thought earth-normal gravity would be vital for, I doubt it, however. I did find one mention of lower fertility rates from microgravity.
But if all microgravity does is to lower fertility, even that's not a problem. 38% of earth's gravity probably won't be a showstopper.
instead of "leaving it as an exercise to the reader", why don't you list your three cheap ways to mitigate gene pool decay? coz i can't see any cheap ways - anything coming from earth will cost an arm and a leg.
Good point: Relatively inexpensive.
1) Zygotes, sperm and eggs are very small. Even with radiation shielding, it's not that expensive to ship a whole lot of them from Earth. These can be used to "refresh" genetic information from Earth and ensure enough genetic diversity. If medical technology has progressed far enough, it may even be possible to send sequencing data and avoid shipping material altogether.
2) Keep everyone born on Mars underground and shielded from radiation, at least until they can store their genetic material in radiation immune facilities for breeding later.
3) Everyone immigrating from Earth would be wise to store and ship their own genetic information. This can be sent on the same flights with the "backup diversity" information in (1), which would greatly minimize the cost. The marginal cost for another sample of eggs/sperm is going to be pretty low.
Also keep in mind that not every launch has to contain such information.
Part of the reason space is so attractive is because it's empty - land goes to who gets there, not who has force of arms to hold it, and there's a hell of a lot of it out there.
The other reason is, you can do whatever you want, and not endanger the lives, or livelihoods of other members of the human race. Toxic spills on Mars, or asteroids or in orbital foundries don't endanger anyone. There's a massive advantage to be had pushing heavy industry and mining off-world.
no, this will never be true, whether its mars or earth. Right now, the other planets isn't "claimed" because it's not economical, nor worthwhile (yet). I bet you when the sufficient incentive and technology exists to colonize another planet/moon, the various gov'ts will start claiming land, using the thread of force.
I'm afraid that the saying "you can take the [person] out of the trailer park, but you can't take the trailer park out of the [person]" applies to all of humanity.
The hardest part of martian colonization is the high abundance of perchlorate everywhere.
What we are really holding out for is tidbits about the actually fully new component of the rocket.. it's stage 1 recovery system.. if it's as mature as the grasshopper tech looks it probably was 100% successful but it's probably going to be a little bit before they let people in on how it went.
* 1st stage rolled, causing the fuel to centrifuge, shutting down the engine early
* 2nd stage couldn't be restarted
Sorry to say, but that was literally a matter of googling "reddit spacex ama". Come on.
First stage did not land intact. The first burn went OK. The second (single-engine burn braking to the surface) cut off early: the stage spun, and the roll was centrifuging fuel in the tanks. Pieces of the stage have been recovered. (FWIW, this was with the tanks nearly drained. This may be different from Grasshopper, which has ballast to get its weight up and make it easier to control, possibly in the form of extra fuel.)
Next recovery attempt will be on the fourth Falcon 9 v1.1 launch (for space station resupply, after two communication satellite launches).
There was also a problem relighting the second stage after payloads were deployed; they've identified the issue, and will correct. (This would have been an issue for the comsat launches, as delivering them into their desired orbits requires relighting the engine.)
Intact as in it broke up during descent?
The spin was due to "aerodynamic torque" (i.e., it was spun up by the atmosphere going down), per Elon's twitter stream.
- First use of the upgraded Merlin 1D engines, generating approximately 56 percent more sea-level thrust than the Merlin 1C engines used on all previous Falcon 9 vehicles.
- First use of the significantly longer first stage, which holds the additional propellant for the more powerful engines.
- The nine Merlin 1D engines on the first stage are arranged in an octagonal pattern with eight engines in a circle and the ninth in the center.
- First launch from SpaceX's new launch facility, Space Launch Complex 4, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and will be the first launch over the Pacific ocean using the facilities of the Pacific test range.
- First Falcon 9 launch to carry a satellite payload for a commercial customer, and also the first non-CRS mission. Each prior Falcon 9 launch was of a Dragon capsule or a Dragon-shaped test article, although SpaceX has previously successfully launched and deployed a satellite on the Falcon 1, Flight 5 mission.
- First Falcon 9 launch to have a jettisonable payload fairing, which introduces the risk of an additional separation event.
It'll be interesting to find out what happened, if SpaceX tells us. It could be anything from a breakup at hypersonic velocities to the stage sinking after dropping from three feet over the water. (Or maybe they were just there to observe that a destruct charge went off?)
A bit of an FYI for anyone else downloading: It's 223 pages, so if your Adobe reader croaks or feels glitchy while scrolling, try Sumatra PDF instead. It will be almost like opening a plain text document. Plus you can easily highlight text.
Millions of words have been written about rocketry and space travel,
and almost as many about the history and development of the rocket.
But if anyone is curious about the parallel history and development
of rocket propellants — the fuels and the oxidizers that make them
go —he will find that there is no book which will tell him what he
wants to know. There are a few texts which describe the propellants
currently in use, but nowhere can he learn why these and not some-
thing else fuel Saturn V or Titan II, or SS-9. In this book I have tried
to make that information available, and to tell the story of the de-
velopment of liquid rocket propellants: the who, and when, and where
and how and why of their development. The story of solid propellants
will have to be told by somebody else.
Really makes you appreciate that you can re-run a failing test a hundred times before it passes at negligible cost, while applying the same ideology to spaceflight means tens of millions a pop at minimum.
It runs through the making of Gemini, Apollo, Shuttle, Hubble, and the ISS.
Complete with the intro from SpaceX employees.
Is that Elon I hear at 10:41 saying 'CE is go' ? Assuming CE means chief executive...
(Resistance to buckling is roughly relative to rotational inertia of the cross section, which for a circle grows with the square of radius assuming a constant shell thickness, and the thickness would actually increase with increasing radius because it is a pressure vessel. Also the actual bending loads increase supralinearly with length.)
Congratulations to the SpaceX team on another massive milestone. Looking forward to more from the Falcon 9 and Merlin 1D.
And it got to ride on a Falcon 9! Originally, it was meant to be strapped to an old Soviet rocket in Kazakstan. This is so much cooler!
I'm guessing that it's there to help with handling the incredibly thin nozzle extension in gravity, and that once the craft is in freefall (or under exhaust pressure) it's no longer necessary.
I'm looking for video of the first stage landing, you can hear them call it out on the audio but its not in this video.