Fly baby fly!

This was Sunday’s flight. It flew farther and faster than it ever did on earth. pl

This entry was posted in Space. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Fly baby fly!

  1. Pat Lang says:

    I see that Musk said yesterday that people will die on Mars. He is an honest man.

    • Ed Lindgren says:

      Historically, voyages of exploration and discovery have had a pretty high fatality rate.

      Take for example Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe in the early Sixteenth Century.

      Magellan departed Spain with five ships and about 270 men.

      Only one ship, with about 20 men, completed the circumnavigation; all the rest (including Magellan) perished.

      And Planet Earth has a much more forgiving environment than does Mars.

      • Leith says:

        Seville and other European ports were not much safer than the various voyages of discovery. Magellan’s wife and children died from disease before he was pincushioned with bamboo spears.

        So people may die on Mars – but tens of millions more may die on earth during the same time frame.

        • Deap says:

          Teaching people how to live on the vast unpopulated tracts in Greenland would be more productive.

          …only tens of millions “may die” out of 7 plus billion? ….. no need to turn ourselves up side down for those puny risk statistics.

          • Ed Lindgren says:

            Deap –

            Your point is well taken…..

            Large areas of Planet Earth are very thinly populated, to include the Sahara, the Australian Outback, the Empty Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula, the Tibetan Plateau, and the icecaps of Antarctica and Greenland. With just a few scattered settlements and research stations (for example, Alice Springs and McMurdo Station), these areas cry out for colonization.

            You can place a naked human being in any of the above listed areas and they will survive for at least awhile. Provide them with a little basic technology (for example, warm clothing) and they would do quite well. There is oxygen free for the breathing, the temperature range is tolerable, the air pressure is sufficiently high so that one’s bodily fluids don’t boil away, and the atmosphere shields one from deadly cosmic radiation.

            My point being that any of these terrestrial environments is far more benign than the surface of the moon or Mars. At least 90 percent of effort and resources at an extra-terrestrial colony would be spent just keeping the occupants alive.

            Howard McCurdy wrote a book titled ‘Space and the American Imagination’ in which he made a case that Americans, who since World War II were fed a diet of Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Disney’s Tomorrowland, Star Trek, and NASA press releases, had great expectations as to what our country would accomplish in space. The actual execution didn’t match the hype; half a century after the Apollo program ended and humanity is still stuck in low earth orbit.

            Based on my age (66) and my genetic stock (mom passed away in Dec at age 101), I might reasonably expect to live another 20 to 30 years. I could be mistaken, but do not expect to witness a successful manned Mars mission during my lifetime.

            Source: Howard E. McCurdy – Space and the American Imagination (2nd edition) – John Hopkins U. Press – 2011

          • Pat Lang says:

            Ed Lindgren

            Good. Stay here! Genes like yours will not be needed on Mars.

          • Ed Lindgren says:

            COL Lang –

            No danger that my genes will make it to Mars. I find any extended flight (greater than three hours) cooped up in an aluminum tube known as a commercial airliner to be an insufferable ordeal.

            You, Musk and many others view manned exploration of the universe as a compelling human imperative. Fair enough. My point is that the gritty details might slow down the program, perhaps significantly. Time will tell.

        • Mark Logan says:

          It was scurvy that got most of them. George Anson’s “successful” voyage is a shudder-inducing example. What seems amazing now was when they had started to figure that out one would think the crews would eagerly embrace an attempt, but no. George Cook had to resort to flogging his crew to get them to comply with the changes in their cuisine. Science wrestles “common sense” a lot.

          I don’t see colonies on Mars for same reason we haven’t colonized Antarctica, and raised to the power of 10. There will be stations until the planet becomes habitable but not colonies.

          • Pat Lang says:

            Mark Logan

            I think you and all the other naysayers are wrong. Four of my nine Pilgrim ancestors died on the trip over or shortly thereafter. There will be plenty of volunteers. Nobody will force the timid to go.

          • Pat Lang says:

            Mark Logan

            That is four of nine separatist Pilgrims on the Mayflower. I had dozens in the Founding of Puritan Massachusetts Bay.

      • Tess says:

        As of today, I will enroll myself in a discovery travel with great pleasure of leaving behind the sanitary-technological dictatorship which in being unleashed on us…Such a respite!

        Life is about quality, not quantity, defintitely…

  2. Mark Logan says:


    Saying there won’t be colonists until the climate is something less than deadly doesn’t make me a naysayer, except towards Elon’s imagined time-line. Volunteers aren’t the problem, there will be plenty who would volunteer to man the station. However I believe colonists look for something different, a secure place to raise a family, prosperity and freedom. The bubble offers only a strictly regulated life with instant death looming if anything goes seriously wrong. The place has to offer something more than adventure before people will move their kids there.

    • Pat Lang says:

      Mark Logan

      Gutless. You would have stayed in England.

      • Peter Williams says:

        Unless he was transported, as many were to North America.

      • Mark Logan says:

        If somebody told them they would have to live under a bubble in a near vacuum, they would’ve stayed in England.

        • Pat Lang says:

          Mark Logan

          Really? I spent a couple of years living mostly outdoors in New England. I would rather go to Mars and live under a bubble.

          • Mark Logan says:

            What if the bubble was under the complete control of the Church of England?

            Kidding aside, I suspect we are in agreement but talking about different things. Expeditions and stations I can see, but colonization different. People leave the kids home for expeditions. Until I see a viable plan and/or serious thought about a self-sustaining habitat on Mars colonization is, for me, just not in the cards yet.

            Elon’s babbling about vitamin C when he should be talking about nitrogen. Hasn’t given it a whiff of a thought yet himself.

  3. The Twisted Genius says:

    The entire discussion between Musk and Diamandis is enlightening. The central point made is the need for a self-sustaining energy industry and the announcement of a $100 million X Prize for carbon removal technologies. Musk is moving the world in that direction with his Tesla cars, batteries and solar roofs.

    He still plans a self-sustaining Mars city of a million inhabitants. He’s realistic about the challenges and notes it will take a million lbs of vitamin C just to keep the colony from “dying a slow and horrible death.” That’s in addition to the perils of Shackleton and Scott-like early explorations, although Shackleton’s expeditions suffered from a lack of carbs in their diets. I am sure Musk is thinking about all those challenges and will have solutions. I still think the biggest challenge will be boredom. What will a million people do in conditions far more restrictive than a Covid lockdown?

    Here’s a couple of quotes from the discussion:

    “Going to Mars reads like that advert for Shackleton going to the Antarctic. You know it is dangerous. It’s uncomfortable, and it’s a long journey. You might not come back alive, but it is a glorious adventure and it will be an amazing experience… Yeah, honestly, a bunch of people will probably die in the beginning.”

    “Humanity is the agent of life and we have an obligation to ensure the creatures of Earth continue even if there is a calamity on Earth, whether it is man-made or a natural calamity – if you look at the fossil record there are many mass extinctions. It is about ensuring we pass that threshold where it is self-sustaining if some calamity prevents the ships from going there.”

    • Fred says:


      “Musk is moving the world in that direction…”
      I was unaware he was building nuclear powered elctric generating plants anywhere.

Comments are closed.