On to Mars?


"Musk has long said that he founded SpaceX back in 2002 chiefly to help make humanity a multiplanet species.

In September, the billionaire entrepreneur unveiled the broad outlines of SpaceX's plans to do just that. The company aims to establish a million-person city on Mars using a rocket-spaceship combo called the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS), which is in the early development stage.

Both the ITS rocket and the spaceship will be reusable. Indeed, the booster will be designed to launch at least 1,000 times, Musk said Thursday.

That level of reusability may sound like an outrageous leap from the status quo of one-and-done rocket launches, but SpaceX's work with the Falcon 9 going forward could help to the bridge the gap.

"The design intent is that the rocket can be re-flown with zero hardware changes — in other words, the only thing that changes is, you reload propellant — 10 times," Musk said Thursday, referring to the Falcon 9 first stage.

"And then, with moderate refurbishment that doesn’t have a significant effect on the cost, it can be reflown at least 100 times," Musk added. "Actually, really, we could make 1,000, but it probably isn't quite there. I'm being careful.""  space.com


Edgar Rice Boroughs would be pleased as would Jules Verne.  Can it really be that in twenty years or so people will walk on Mars?  Babak will probably say no, but a discussion of that opinion would be worthwhile.  pl  


This entry was posted in Space. Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to On to Mars?

  1. Lars says:

    That is one guy I would not bet against.

  2. helenk3 says:

    Oh the places my great grandsons will go. I do not see why his idea is impossible. As I said in a previous post go to the Wright Brothers Museum on the outer banks and then go to the Kennedy Space Center in Fla just to see how far we have come in a little over 100 years. It will amaze you.
    On another note
    interesting. X marks the spot

  3. trinlae says:

    Entirely possible from the physics side w latest tech for materials science…space shuttle already does it at smaller scale….and constraints are not unlike evolution of aeronautics of jet engines.
    The biggest challenge i expect will be social-psychological….the kind of people who will volunteer for such missions are imo the self reliant freedom loving variety…dont like to put up w a lot of BS!

  4. r whitman says:

    Will the next moonwalkers be Chinese??

  5. jld says:

    A very appropiate posting for 1st of April…

  6. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The way things are going, your grandson will never be able to walk in the streets of Tehran or Isfahan, Lahore or Baghdad.

  7. BabelFish says:

    I hope to still be sentient when an astronaut finally takes the first steps on Mars. An appropriate memorial should be left on behalf of Bradbury, Clarke, Heinlein, Asimov and all the other greats. And I hope that Kim Stanley Robinson is hale enough to encourage the start of going from Red to Blue Mars.

  8. b says:

    “Can it really be that in twenty years or so people will walk on the moon? ”
    They did so 48 years ago. It should not be a big problem to repeat that. So the answer is: In principle yes.
    But then come other questions:
    Why should they? And why would anyone (apart from some bored billionaires) pay for it? It has no commercial value whatsoever. If you want public money for this stuff you will have to answer those questions. People will look at the former missions and say “So what. Those did not bring anything but a fleeing bit of nationalistic pride. Onto Mars? For what? Why in manned missions with their exorbitant costs? Why should anyone sponsor such nonsense?”
    Musk wants a million person city on Mars? What will they produce that is so valuable the the people on earth will pay for it?

  9. ISL says:

    Given the finances of Tesla and how he is pushing the limits of what is acceptable in accounting between his largely federally subsidized business ventures, shorting could make sense.
    However, given a choice between crony capitalism bank subsidization and Space X subsidization, I support whole-heartedly Space X!
    With great risks, can come great gains…..

  10. Jack says:

    20 years may be too soon for a large space colony. I question why Mars? Why not just orbiting stations at ever increasing distances? This will allow us to go further into space. We will need to develop the capability of self-sustainability at each station.
    Voyager is already at the outer edge of our solar system. Maybe we can someday find some place with a similar environment to earth, or we can manipulate our DNA to be able to survive in other environments. And of course to become like a water bear and go into a tun state as we embark on a million light year journey.
    The larger question is not technological but social. Will humans in space colonies behave like humans on earth?

  11. turcopolier says:

    I asked if men would walk on Mars in 20 years. pl

  12. turcopolier says:

    Yes. I meant Mars. pl

  13. helenk3 says:

    My great grandsons are ages 5 -7 -8. I would not want them anywhere near the ME. Children are really not safe there war or no war.
    My youngest grand daughter is taking the test for a job as a policeman at the supreme Court in DC. She studied criminal justice in college. It was a choice between the capitol or the supreme court. I am glad it is the supreme court because I do not want her putting her life on the line for some fools who think hanging pictures of cops as pigs is the great.
    My grand children are all grown up , I do not know how that happened as I am only 21 years old

  14. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yup, so you prefer a fantasy of walking on a barren planet in comparison to which the Gobi Desert is hospitable to a walk in the Near East.
    Man cannot escape from Himself and he is thoroughly and completely in the State of Fall.

  15. Allen Thomson says:

    > Can it really be that in twenty years or so people will walk on Mars?
    Given persistent will/motivation, large amounts of money, clear-eyed and competent management and a bit of luck, it certainly could happen. Will it? No sé — the past isn’t encouraging, but maybe we’re seeing a break from that. I hope so.

  16. I remember that first moon landing. Many of the people in my grandparents’ generation in our large ethnic group were sure that the government was pulling the wool over our eyes. They were sure it was just a staged event by the Hoolywood types.
    MY dad’s mother had a telephone. She would pick it up and listen if it rang, but she was sure it was just some sort of toy, or something. So, if my mother really had to tell her something, she would have to drive to her house to tell her in person.
    Tjat gemeration had grown up with horse or oxen-powered farm equipment in the rural villages in Russia. They went through so many changes it was just too much for them to grasp–especially given their fundamental Christian beliefs at the time.
    Our generation grew up first with Buck Rogers and then with the various Start Trek series and with Star Wars. I EXPECT that we will be a multi-planet species. I just wish I could live long enough to see it happen.
    I’ve been waiting for the second season of the Mars series on Nat Geo. I recommend it.

  17. charly says:

    The moon at least makes military sense. Being the high ground for Earth.

  18. charly says:

    Hopefully not. The big Question of Mars is is there Life now. Having people muck around it would answering that question much harder.

  19. Jack says:

    You are correct, Sir.
    I believe technologically it is possible for a Mars walk in 2 decades. The question is more financial and the allocation of resources.

  20. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Like I asked before, when would you be able to walk in Tehran?

  21. Babak Makkinejad says:


  22. Many have predicted the end of the world and of mankind. I prefer to have hope that the best of mankind will survive and go on until….
    It’s up to God, And, yes, I do believe in God. And, no, I don’t think “mankind” should be a word that triggers feminists.

  23. I believe that there were many really non-technological societies of humans who did not even know or notice the first landing on the moon. And just because those people existed and do exist, doesn’t not mean we have to stop dreaming.
    I leave all those morals issues that drive some crazy: How can I be happy while I live in relative affluence while so many are living in fear or poverty or under terrible oppression.
    I got over that thinking because I can put the world in God’s capable hands and know He has a plan.

  24. Fred says:

    It will take a different manner of men than the ones were are graduating from the snowflake preserves we call colleges nowadays.

  25. Peter in Toronto says:

    Excellent choice of novel Colonel, I enjoyed the Robinson Mars trilogy immensely. Especially the first two novels, where the author details the establishment of the first human settlements (perhaps glossing over some of the challenges and accidents that would likely plague such an effort) and early attempts at engineering the environment and generating an atmosphere. The third book shifts the focus to the political evolution of the planet, from the communes of the pioneer days to some form of loose political union. A great read indeed that infected me with a yearning to extend the human presence off of this single space rock.
    The probability of some sort other space rock wiping out most advanced life on this planet is nearly a 100% certainty, speaking on a cosmic time scale. We’ve been fortunate thus far, but the window of time remaining for us to develop some sort of viable fusion power and deploy a permanent settlement on Mars is shrinking with every year. We have the technical capability, but the challenge is the way our society is organized and its priorities. Capitalism and industry have become so efficient, they consume virtually most of the brain power and resources into designing and manufacturing disposable consumer garbage which serves no other purpose than to drive the profit earnings and growth of said companies. Rare Earth metals such as osmium, strontium and rubidium are being squandered into mobile devices for example, where they are forever lost and not reclaimable for recycling. What strategic purpose does such a device offer? Yet it expends a strategic resource, permanently.
    The economy has become an objective in its own right, rather than a means to achieve greater projects and a more efficient distribution of resources.

  26. Rd says:

    “Can it really be that in twenty years or so people will walk on Mars? Babak will probably say no, but a discussion of that opinion would be worthwhile. pl ”
    Humanity is destined to leave this planet, either by choice or by force. if not, we would still be living on the FLAT planet earth.

  27. David says:

    Speaking of Kim Stanley Robinson, he was at a local book store promoting his new book “New York 2140” and was asked about his recent
    visit to China. He said he was in China to do research on his next novel which will be about China going to the Moon. From his talks
    with various officials there, he is convinced that they are serious about being the first to return to the Moon. The Chinese were were particularly in establishing a base at the Lunar South Pole where there is at least some water ice in the shadows.

  28. Babak Makkinejad says:

    If you guys in North America decide to leave this planet for another Earth-like planet (America II), could you please bequeath the Great Lakes region to people of the Middle East?
    Good dirt, lots of oil, gas, and iron ore, as well as plenty of water. Who could wish for more?
    “And we will build another Isfahan
    On Michigan’s verdant shores.”

  29. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Man will carry his tendency to destruction into the stars. He cannot escape himself.

  30. Babak Makkinejad says:

    ” How can I be happy while I live in relative affluence while so many are living in fear or poverty or under terrible oppression.”
    Well, if I were you, I would learn to be happy in spite of all of that.

  31. Lars says:

    I think that has already started. At least in and around Detroit.

  32. Babak Makkinejad says:

    From your lips to God’s ears…

Comments are closed.