Elon Musk shows off prototype of Mars-bound rocket, Starship

January 11, 2019
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has unveiled the first pictures of a retro-looking, steely rocket called Starship that may one day carry people to the Moon and Mars

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has unveiled the first pictures of a retro-looking, steely rocket called Starship that may one day carry people to the Moon and Mars.

Musk posted pictures on Twitter late Thursday of the Starship Hopper prototype, which awaits its first flight test in Texas in the coming weeks.

"Starship test flight rocket just finished assembly at the @SpaceX Texas launch site. This is an actual picture, not a rendering," he wrote.

The prototype built in Boca Chica, along the Gulf Coast of Texas, is nine yards (eight meters) in diameter—like the future rocket will be—but is shorter.

Its first test flights—suborbital "hops" reaching several miles (kilometers) in the air before landing back on Earth—could come in March or April.

An orbital prototype is expected in June. That version will be paired with a massive rocket booster known as the Super Heavy.

SpaceX has said the duo could one day transport people from city to city on Earth, as well as propel passengers around the Moon, to the lunar surface, and even to Mars and back.

SpaceX currently launches regular supply missions to the astronauts living at the International Space Station, using its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon cargo capsule.

The company is working on a new Dragon crew capsule that could start carrying people to the orbiting outpost later this year.


Explore further: SpaceX's Elon Musk renames his big rocket 'Starship'

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granville583762
4.3 / 5 (6) Jan 11, 2019
why could not NASA make these rockets
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (8) Jan 11, 2019
That is actually a question many Americans ask...
But, to have individuals achieve it (and profit from it) is MUCH more inspiring...
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
4.5 / 5 (8) Jan 11, 2019
Wow - what marvelous ambition this man has - to physically send humans to the Moon and Mars using his rockets as fuel propulsion system.
I don't think that Elon Musk cares as much about the potential profits as he does for the adventure, excitement and the feelings of jubilation that a successful mission can give him, in particular. It is in his eyes. He seems to be the happiest when he is doing and accomplishing the things that most can only dream of doing - including NASA. With every successful launch/mission, he is on a "natural high".
Thorium Boy
1.4 / 5 (17) Jan 11, 2019
Mars? Can it be a one-way trip with him on it?
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
4.5 / 5 (8) Jan 12, 2019
Mars? Can it be a one-way trip with him on it?
says Thorium Boy

The very first manned mission to Mars will most likely be planned so as to provide a way for their return to Earth. But they will also need to have an alternate plan in the event that their return cannot be accomplished safely - for whatever reason. You have to understand that a manned mission to Mars is full of unknowns and that almost anything can happen to screw up both missions to and from.
But you do seem unhappy with Elon Musk - WHY? Best to get used to him - he's here to stay.
peabody3000
1.8 / 5 (5) Jan 12, 2019
why could not NASA make these rockets


why would they? unless musk funds the whole operation from start to finish out of his own pocket, even spaceX isn't going anywhere

billions of dollars spent on death-defying missions for what gain, besides cool pics and footage? i ask this a lot and the only real answer i ever get is: "muh.. exploration.."
peabody3000
1 / 5 (1) Jan 12, 2019
That is actually a question many Americans ask...
But, to have individuals achieve it (and profit from it) is MUCH more inspiring...


okay, profit how, exactly? serious question
unrealone1
1.4 / 5 (10) Jan 12, 2019
Obama shut down NASA.
Doug_Nightmare
2.3 / 5 (7) Jan 12, 2019
NASA is now only a technology demonstrator and incubator for social justice. Development should be by private enterprise. Liquidate the NASA investment while it still has some value.

About Starship X-1 to Mars; a tiny fraction of that trip will be in a fluid environment but it will lug that useless streamlining all the way there and back?
luke_w_bradley
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 12, 2019
"About Starship X-1 to Mars; a tiny fraction of that trip will be in a fluid environment but it will lug that useless streamlining all the way there and back?"

Right? Here he builds these great reusable rockets that can work as elevators out of a planets atmosphere OR down into it, so he could build anything in space, like Von Braun wheel with artificial gravity for long voyage, whatever, but this?
yoatmon
5 / 5 (2) Jan 12, 2019
I wouldn't hesitate a second to volunteer for a Mars mission even if it were for a one-way trip only. Such a crew would consist of selected and dedicated members -the company of which I could / would enjoy, one for all and all for one; but who would need an old bum like me.
I'd certainly miss the earth - a Paradise compared to Mars. I certainly wouldn't miss the Trumps, the Erdogans, the Assads, the Putins and their likes and the myriads of as....es of humanity stomping on this Paradise.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3.8 / 5 (4) Jan 12, 2019
why could not NASA make these rockets
why would they
NASA is and always was a military agency. Their vehicles are all milspec and thus take more time and cost more money to build.

The military doesnt build ports, it defends them. It reconnoiters, it doesnt colonize.

BTW you're an idiot. It's obvious why the species has to establish itself on other worlds. This vehicle and others like it will show the world just how easy it actually is. Fissiles for colony reactors and propulsion will make it happen (which is why we made 10k tons of the stuff... foresight).

Thousands of commercial passenger and cargo planes flying every day. Musks vehicle is little different from a Boeing 777, probably easier to build.
Doug_Nightmare
1 / 5 (1) Jan 12, 2019
Select company is available here and now, as we are known by the company that we keep. SHUN ICKY.

Spaceship X-1 will be disparaged as non-diverse for selecting abled crew. See the burgeoning James D. Watson kerfuffle. There is no allowed human bio-diversity, we are all the same /sarcasm.
Doug_Nightmare
1 / 5 (3) Jan 12, 2019
The human species will not establish itself sustainably on anyother world. Mars colony will be just like the Roanoke Colony. Who will be Virginia Dare of Vdare.com?
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.8 / 5 (4) Jan 12, 2019
Sure thing dougie. Euros gave up after that and the indigenes never got to sell Manhattan. You can still see the tepees there today.
https://www.nytim...lyn.html
Solon
1 / 5 (3) Jan 12, 2019
There will be no windows to look out of on these planned Mars rockets, how claustrophobic that would be.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 12, 2019
There will be no windows to look out of on these planned Mars rockets, how claustrophobic that would be.
says solon

It is almost a certainty that forethought will be applied in the choosing of the ship's complement of crew and Officers in such an endeavour to prevent, as much as humanly possible, the physical and psychological problems that might ensue at any point. That is the responsibility of such medical doctors and psychiatrists to weed out any possibilities that may be detrimental to a smoothly-running "operation". And they will be prepared in the event that one has escaped the notice of the doctors and become accepted into the programs.
I seem to recall that in the movie, "The Right Stuff", one of the candidates for the astronaut program had washed out due to what seemed (in the movie) to be claustrophobia. They will all be tested for that also.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
3.7 / 5 (3) Jan 12, 2019
why could not NASA make these rockets


why would they? unless musk funds the whole operation from start to finish out of his own pocket, even spaceX isn't going anywhere

billions of dollars spent on death-defying missions for what gain, besides cool pics and footage? i ask this a lot and the only real answer i ever get is: "muh.. exploration.."


rrwilliejoe - is that you in disguise?
NASA is allocated a yearly budget that is derived from American taxpayer money. American public expects good and timely results. At this point, NASA can only afford the building of landers and rovers to Mars or the Moon but nothing of a future manned mission to Mars, as yet. which would be prohibitively expensive.
Private corporations that are not taxpayer funded have money derived mostly from profits, so that e.g. SpaceX is probably well able to afford the enormous costs.
The "orbiting outpost" sounds nice. Perhaps they will have a restaurant in it for the passengers?
lol
Ken_Fabian
4.3 / 5 (3) Jan 12, 2019
Mars as an objective makes great publicity for Musk and SpaceX, feeding into long running and popular but not necessarily reality grounded Science Fiction memes. Which the styling is highly suggestive of. But the operative word is "fiction".

They will do very well just by making a reliable large sized rocket that can deliver payloads to Earth orbit at significantly reduced cost, but I don't think Musk's proposals for Mars are in any way realistic or reasonable.

There is no sound business case for going to Mars - quite the opposite - no matter how sincere Musk is in wanting to achieve that goal. Without any way to recover costs and pay their way, Mars missions are going to rely on popularity driven taxpayer funding. Sale of TV rights might be the best money making aspect but entertainment is a fickle business and for SF themes CGI is much cheaper.
peabody3000
1 / 5 (1) Jan 12, 2019
rrwilliejoe - is that you in disguise?
...
Private corporations that are not taxpayer funded have money derived mostly from profits, so that e.g. SpaceX is probably well able to afford the enormous costs.
The "orbiting outpost" sounds nice. Perhaps they will have a restaurant in it for the passengers?
lol


you, like many hint at "profit"..but from what? are fantastically wealthy people gonna burn $3 billion each to stay on a desolate mars 2 yrs or more? if so the program would still be massively underfunded

where's all this profit come from?

how close do you think the tech readiness is? under 20 years away? not a chance. getting there's infinitely easier than staying
Parsec
4.8 / 5 (6) Jan 12, 2019
My own belief is that interplanetary transport should be built in orbit. That way reusable rockets could haul just the material needed for a transport rocket without all the extra streamlining necessary for lifting through the atmosphere. The total amount of fuel needed to go from earth's orbit to mars orbit is a small fraction of the amount needed to accomplish earth's surface to earth's orbit.

Mankind needs to develop the capability to make things in space anyway. This would be a good learning project.
Protoplasmix
4.7 / 5 (3) Jan 13, 2019
That is actually a question many Americans ask...
But, to have individuals achieve it (and profit from it) is MUCH more inspiring...
okay, profit how, exactly? serious question
Great question. Of the billions of people occupying the planet there are certainly many thousands of individuals with similar dreams as Elon and who also have similar talents and abilities. But the for-profit system only produced one billionaire who *checks notes* got computers to add and subtract monetary transactions. Using the oil industry in the US as another good example, the for-profit system produced exactly one and only one "superior competitor"...
ShotmanMaslo
5 / 5 (2) Jan 13, 2019
billions of dollars spent on death-defying missions for what gain, besides cool pics and footage? i ask this a lot and the only real answer i ever get is: "muh.. exploration.."


You could say the same thing about the ISS. And yet, it exists and is funded. Political reality is such that roughly $10 billion per year is available for manned spaceflight ever since the end of Apollo (with many more billions for unmanned), and that is not going to change anytime soon, no politician wants to be known as someone who defunded NASA. So the money is there. The only issue is how to take it from the corrupt and the inefficient and give it to the likes of SpaceX.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (3) Jan 13, 2019
They will do very well just by making a reliable large sized rocket that can deliver payloads to Earth orbit at significantly reduced cost, but I don't think Musk's proposals for Mars are in any way realistic or reasonable.

There is no sound business case for going to Mars - quite the opposite
There was no sound business case for columbus' voyages to the caribbean. Elites had known the size of the earth since ancient times, and that the western trade route was a myth.

The reason for conquering the western hemisphere and securing the worlds oceans was strategic.

We know that all the same resources industry uses here on earth exist on mars and in the asteroid belt, resources that can be used to support fully independent colonies. We know that others on this planet - potential adversaries - are planning to go there and attempt to exploit those resources.

So we need to do it first and best.

Your understanding is limited by the scope of your imagination.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.8 / 5 (4) Jan 13, 2019
Imagine the typical euro perspective on Magellans voyages. How could we ever build enough ships to make trade across the Atlantic, not to mention the pacific, profitable? How could we ever overcome all the challenges, the diseases, the natives, the weather?

And then an entirely unimaginable (for them) change of scope took place. Suddenly, economic impetus was discovered and thousands of ships from dozens of countries were built, ships with the same relative complexity and cost to them as musk's ships are to us today.

One could still argue that the economics were contrived - 'why go all the way over there to get stuff we already have here?' But competition and threat among these various countries drove the need to secure those resources and establish permanent colonies to exploit and process them.

You might think that we have finally become intelligent and mature enough to avoid the kind of conflict that drove world conquest but there are still worlds left to conquer.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (2) Jan 13, 2019
Political reality is such that roughly $10 billion per year is available for manned spaceflight ever since the end of Apollo (with many more billions for unmanned), and that is not going to change anytime soon
There is also the myth that money is some finite commodity with only so much to go around. Once the precolumbian empires had been conquered there was so much 'money' that they began scuttling ships full of it in the Atlantic so as to keep the influx of it from devaluing imperial coffers and collapsing euro economies.

Gold only has value because civilization grants it value. Civilization generates and distributes wealth. Money is nothing more than the will of whoever is in charge, to get something done.

It was the will of euro dynasties to conquer the world, and the 'money' was created to make it happen.

This was made far easier when the gold standard was abandoned. Today, Leaders need only call up their treasuries and ask them to print money.

Will = money.
Doug_Nightmare
2.5 / 5 (2) Jan 13, 2019
Windows? We don' need no steenking windows! Unless your only experience is with NeverSail Sea View submarine.
ShotmanMaslo
5 / 5 (4) Jan 13, 2019
There will be windows on SpaceX Starship. Just like there were on every manned spacecraft so far.
Mark Thomas
5 / 5 (5) Jan 13, 2019
billions of dollars spent on death-defying missions for what gain, besides cool pics and footage? i ask this a lot and the only real answer i ever get is: "muh.. exploration.."


Hey peabody3000, pay attention. In the grand scheme of things, resources are severely constrained here on Earth, both in terms of availability and time. You can't see this because that is all you know. In space there are essentially unlimited materials, energy, real estate (and dare I say) opportunity to learn and grow. Perhaps you have heard the famous quote by Tsiolkovsky about Earth being the cradle of humanity, but we can't stay in the cradle forever. You are essentially asking, why not? Because there is amazing opportunity out there if we can wise up and figure out how to use it. If we never do, you can be certain that the sun or an asteroid will eventually destroy us if we don't do it to ourselves first.
antigoracle
4.8 / 5 (4) Jan 13, 2019
why could not NASA make these rockets


why would they? unless musk funds the whole operation from start to finish out of his own pocket, even spaceX isn't going anywhere

billions of dollars spent on death-defying missions for what gain, besides cool pics and footage? i ask this a lot and the only real answer i ever get is: "muh.. exploration.."

If someone had not taken that bold step, to explore, you wouldn't be where you are.
RealityCheck
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 13, 2019
@unrealone1.
Obama shut down NASA.
But wasn't/isn't it the Republican/GOP-voting types that were/are peddling anti-NASA conspiracies (eg: "moon landings were faked"; and "no stars visible from space"; and "NASA is a communist conspiracy to waste US-taxpayer's money" and etc etc)? Most, if not all, of those same Republican/GOP anti-NASA conspiracy peddlers voted for Trump, didn't they?
JaxPavan
3.5 / 5 (2) Jan 13, 2019
Musk's astronauts might become terminally ill and retarded?

NASA has been staying largely inside the earth's magnetic field with manned operations like ISS and the shuttle ever since Apollo and other experiments taught them that cosmic rays cause cancer and degrade cognitive functions severely over time.

Although weak, the earth's magnetic field is so large it can effect a very wide radius of deflection.

For spaceship size, some mitigation would start at a 1 Telsa field but would probably require 10-100 Teslas to mop up most but the really high energy ones, basically requiring a more advance version of the magnets we use in particle accelerators today. Very heavy and high powered, any solution would be correspondingly expensive to send to Mars. Even then, it would probably have to be supplemented with a large radius of shielding to cause spallation and shorten the resulting radii of deflection. Maybe Styrofoam or water or something.

I see nothing like that here.
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (1) Jan 13, 2019
There is also the myth that money is some finite commodity with only so much to go around
Wait, you're saying that world's central banks and the US' Federal [sic] Reserve, whose reasons for being are to stabilize markets by regulating the supply of fiat currency, are mythical? Because in your very next breath you point out that they scuttled wealth in the Atlantic so their imperial coffers wouldn't get devalued.
will = money
Humans are better than that, because the mere fact that there's a mountain is inspiration enough for them to climb it: see Timeline of Mount Everest expeditions.
Anonym590659
not rated yet Jan 13, 2019
What would it take to make living in a skin-diving suit for several months comfortable? Swimming about in a large zero-g fish bowl, Mars-bound, would certainly be good exercise, and AI should find reminding (ensuring) everyone replaces consumables in a timely manner pretty simple. The sci-fi breathing mask provided to Louis Lane in the most recent Superman movie suggests a low-pressure water tight face conforming mask might be fashioned (fashionable) and not nearly as cumbersome as the archetypal "SpaceSuit" helmets intended for survival in vacuum.
How much less radiation injury would a passenger to Mars suffer if entirely enveloped within a cylinder of H2O matching the habitat dimensions of Musks Starship? This idea must have been considered in the past. Perhaps, as with stainless steel, this idea might be re-visited?

As for claustrophobia, AR/VR built into such a specialized headgear might be of some value.
??
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Jan 13, 2019
Wait, you're saying that world's central banks and the US' Federal [sic] Reserve, whose reasons for being are to stabilize markets by regulating the supply of fiat currency, are mythical? Because in your very next breath you point out that they scuttled wealth in the Atlantic so their imperial coffers wouldn't get devalued
The fed prints money on command and issues it to banks to lend out to various entities to fund specific projects. That's the simple explanation. In practice it is far more complex. Too much in the wrong place and you have overgrowth and inflation. Too little and goals arent accomplished.

Where did the vast wealth come from to fund the railways and the related industries such as iron, coal, and lumber? The directive was to create the system. The money came from primary lenders in europe and lent out to the few individuals who proved they could get it done. It didnt become profitable for decades.
Cont>
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (2) Jan 13, 2019
How about the great African land grab? Several countries descended on the continent all at once, on cue, and began carving it up, enslaving the population, clearing land, laying track, building harbors, etc with the purpose of securing as much of the resources as they could, as quickly as possible.

The country of Belgium was created specifically to give king Leopold a vehicle with which to exploit the Congo. Cecilia Rhodes was more powerful than many heads of state.

And we can look back on this grand effort and realize that without it the world wars could not have happened. And then we might speculate that this means the wars, actually a single continuous world conflagration, was planned for generations in advance.
Cont>

TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (2) Jan 13, 2019
Humans are better than that
Better than what? Sitting back and letting things happen by themselves? Overpopulation means conflict is inevitable and always has been. Letting it happen by itself is the greatest evil. Planning it to produce a beneficial, constructive outcome is the greatest blessing.

City mounds dot the desertified landscape in a vast swath stretching from the Sahara to the gobi. This is the result of letting things happen by themselves.
because the mere fact that there's a mountain is inspiration enough for them to climb it: see Timeline of Mount Everest expeditions
You're comparing climbing mountains with conquering the worlds oceans?? Not much on Everest but 50-some bodies and tons of trash.

Humans are planners. That is our best of natures. We can project possible future events and plan for them.

Western economies are indications of planning at its highest and best. They are also strategic. Letting them operate by themselves would be suicide.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (2) Jan 13, 2019
Heres a very short explanation of some of the many ways the fed can create money out of thin air. And destroy it as well.
https://www.theba...-3305842
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (2) Jan 13, 2019
And I see wiki refers to the great African land grab as

"'The Scramble for Africa' was the occupation, division, and colonization of African territory by European powers during the period of New Imperialism, between 1881 and 1914."

"The Scramble for Africa
Book by Thomas Pakenham"

And

"King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa" Adam Hochschild

-Incredible, unbelievable stories of how this was done and all who were involved.
Ken_Fabian
not rated yet Jan 13, 2019
TheGhostofOtto -
There was no sound business case for columbus' voyages to the caribbean.


If there wasn't a sound business case initially the abundant resources and opportunities for European colonists were readily apparent upon arrival; people with lesser technology suitable for enslaving were already doing fine there. We know what Mars is like - and it is harsh beyond any Earthly desert. No slaves.

The Americas analogy doesn't work - no-one had to design ocean going sailing ships first; they used proven technology in common use. Ships were already trading successfully across greater distances. Colonists could drink the water, eat the fish and game and steal from natives to survive until the next ship arrived - and trade stuff when they did. It was truly abundant in readily exploitable resources. Not like Mars at all.

Strategically it might work like Reagan's Star Wars, inciting nations to overextend themselves economically for no real gain.
RealityCheck
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 13, 2019
@Ken_Fabian.
If there wasn't a sound business case initially the abundant resources and opportunities for European colonists were readily apparent upon arrival; people with lesser technology suitable for enslaving were already doing fine there. We know what Mars is like - and it is harsh beyond any Earthly desert. No slaves. The Americas analogy doesn't work - no-one had to design ocean going sailing ships first; they used proven technology in common use. Ships were already trading successfully across greater distances. Colonists could drink the water, eat the fish and game and steal from natives to survive until the next ship arrived - and trade stuff when they did. It was truly abundant in readily exploitable resources. Not like Mars at all.
Re this specific aspect, I can agree with Otto. Slaves now replaceable by modern chemistry/mining technologies/processes, efficient goods/transport mass-production/control machines, new energy sources etc not possible then. :)
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (2) Jan 13, 2019
Musk is using proven tech in common use. Further we have been proofing autonomous tech in nuke subs for decades now. So much of what we have produced in the last few decades - materials, drugs, bioengg, etc - will all come together because that's WHY it was all pursued in the first place. Space will be a lot easier than we have been led to believe.

I think medieval euros were given similar stunted perspectives of the dangers of ocean travel for much the same reason - because the tech WAS as you say available. Independent contact with precolumbian civilizations would have been disastrous for many reasons.

So when the time was right the invasion was launched, the empires quickly destroyed, and the occupation begun. With breathtaking speed and effectiveness.

It is going to be the same with mars. We had the tech decades ago to do it but it didnt happen.

"There is a [PROPER] time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens..." ecc3
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (2) Jan 13, 2019
Colonists could drink the water, eat the fish and game and steal from natives to survive until the next ship arrived - and trade stuff when they did
The same raw materials that feed the plants exists on mars. We now have the ability to take the necessary biology with us. AI robotics will be our slaves and nuclear power will be the wind in our sails (??)

All we lack is the proper perspective to envision it all. People in conestoga wagons could not possibly have envisioned commercial air travel. Three or four gens is all that separates the 2.
to overextend themselves economically for no real gain
Colonies will be independent - self-sufficient. They will not need earth and earth will not need them.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jan 13, 2019
Try to imagine fully autonomous nuclear-powered tunnelers creating cubic miles of habitable space beneath the Martian regolith. Musks boring company is using similar machines that could be delivered by BFR in 4-5 trips.

Interesting article on subterrenes with the wrong perspective
https://nationali...ay-40072

-I had not known that they had produced and tested actual working prototype rock melters. You make a big hole, drop a few of these at the bottom, and bore at a slight uphill angle beneath the ice cap, enough to allow the magma to run downhill.

Big hole. BIG hole.
https://en.m.wiki...ar_test)

-Even without a melter, a pilot hole forward to the cap ice could deliver water to create a slurry to remove the tailings from a conventional nuke-powered borer.

Yeah it's fun to speculate.
JaxPavan
not rated yet Jan 13, 2019
No one is going to dump settlers into a gravity well they will never again escape just be become dirt farmers with no oxygen. Mars is a distraction.

The asteroid belt is the real goal. Higher solar orbit means it's much easier to nudge resources back to earth.

Prior to worldwide resource depletion, world domination in the 21st century depended on nuclear weapons and control of the oil boom.

After peak oil, world domination will depend on the ability to move asteroids from the asteroid belt, both to exploit resources and to use as potential doomsday weapons short of extinction level events.

The next world order will be defined by who is first to catch an asteroid.
JaxPavan
not rated yet Jan 13, 2019
If Musk wants to be a real visionary and create something truly revolutionary, he should be sponsoring research into materials strong enough for the cabling required to hang a geostationary space elevator.
ShotmanMaslo
not rated yet Jan 14, 2019
Musk's astronauts might become terminally ill and retarded?

Although weak, the earth's magnetic field is so large it can effect a very wide radius of deflection.


You have quite a few misconceptions about radiation in space. First, it is not our magnetic field that is protecting us against cosmic rays, it is out atmosphere, 10 tons per square meter of it. This could be an issue for a Mars colony where people live entire lives,, habitats may have to be several meters underground. It is not an issue for spaceship flying to Mars, because travel time of 3-5 months should still stay within acceptable radiation limits, below 1 sievert. Radiation is a concern, but not a showstopper for a Mars mission.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jan 14, 2019
Plenty of O2 on mars. Enough to fill sq mi of underground space with millions of inhabitants who would be glad to live there.

Earth looks like a big target from space. For your doomsday weapons. Humankind needs to spread itself around in order to survive.

You have a fanciful perspective about dragging rocks with specific materials across the entire solar system, at huge delta Vs, for any reason whatsoever.

Mars has EVERYTHING needed to support complete independence for millions underground. Much easier to mine process and transport materials there, than from the asteroid belt.

What's the concentration of materials you need in a specific asteroid? How much junk do you need to grind up and melt to get it? And where and how do you process it and make something useful, cost effectively, out of it? All with nuclear power in remote space.

Much more sense to mine and refine on planets and moons, and inhabit the tunnels created. Tunnelers do your melting and grinding for you.
ShotmanMaslo
not rated yet Jan 14, 2019
It is going to be the same with mars. We had the tech decades ago to do it but it didnt happen


True, and especially in light of this new Spaceship redesign, using stainless steel instead of advanced composites.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jan 14, 2019
Roger that. BTW my last post was in response to jax the timid.

More good news

"The US government says a new robot is poised to help it create a reliable, long-term supply chain of plutonium-238 (Pu-238): a radioactive material NASA requires to explore deep space.

"NASA uses Pu-238 to power its most epic space missions - among them New Horizons (now beyond Pluto), the Voyagers (now in interstellar space), and Cassini (now part of Saturn)."

-Settlement reactors will use more conventional and abundant fissiles than this RTG stuff but the fact that we are going to begin making it again is a good sign.
Spyke
3 / 5 (2) Jan 14, 2019
It does seem to me that as it is still at a venture stage that the first few visits should have some insurance for the passengers to be able to cancel the trip at any stage AND either remain safe while waiting materials/eqipement or even to abort and return if necessary.
e.g. if the already tested and proven rockets are used to put up several optimised 'space-safe-environment stations', maybe with their own 'space-optimised engines', they do not have to be 'aero-dynamic' nor have the same structural integrity involved that a 'rocket ' does. They may be more spherical (to optimise volume vs mass), or any other suitable shape. This would make more efficient use of fuel, and then several of the 'falcon' rockets could be docked to them for later use getting to and from the surface. The 'station(s)' could be parked in orbit and it would be much easier to redirect back to Earth IF something goes awry.
And 'cargo' can take more rough handling than humans and only needs a one-way vehicle,
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jan 14, 2019
It does seem to me that as it is still at a venture stage that the first few visits should have some insurance for the passengers to be able to cancel the trip at any stage AND either remain safe while waiting materials/eqipement or even to abort and return if necessary
Ha no. What makes you think that way? Do you often give up half way through a project?
JaxPavan
not rated yet Jan 14, 2019
@ShotManMaslo,

"You have quite a few misconceptions about radiation in space. First, it is not our magnetic field that is protecting us against cosmic rays, it is out atmosphere, 10 tons per square meter of it. This could be an issue for a Mars colony where people live entire lives,, habitats may have to be several meters underground. It is not an issue for spaceship flying to Mars, because travel time of 3-5 months should still stay within acceptable radiation limits, below 1 sievert. Radiation is a concern, but not a showstopper for a Mars mission."

You have the party line, which is half truths, as usual. Yes, the atmosphere works too, but not as much as the other half of the planetary body, the one you're standing on. So does the magnetic field. Mars has two out of those three.

In space you would have none for six months. They are obfuscating the issues because they are not sure if they are going to try to develop and pay for mitigation, or just sacrifice some folks.
Solon
not rated yet Jan 14, 2019
"There will be windows on SpaceX Starship. Just like there were on every manned spacecraft so far."

According to this article you are correct:
Main windows: "Two long stripes of shutterable window panels allow natural sunlight to enter the communal area to establish a natural day-night cycle for the crew."
https://www.busin...ewing-19
Ken_Fabian
not rated yet Jan 14, 2019
I think the optimism for colonising Mars is misplaced; it's a dead end in almost every sense.

I still have not seen how the economics can work. Self reliance using Earth technology - and it absolutely depends on Earth technology - means viable trade within the greater economy it is part of; there is no prospect of return trade. Self sufficiency means having the equivalent of an entire working advanced industrial economy - no prospect of that. Robotics adds technological complexity and costs, it does not reduce them.

Transport - yet to be developed. Self-reproducing robots - yet to be developed. Mars rated nuclear plants - yet to be developed. Mars suits - yet to be developed. Mars building materials - yet to be developed. Mars mining machinery - yet to be developed. Mars metals refineries - yet to be developed. Mars water and air refineries - yet to be developed.

The parallels with colonising the Americas still elude me.
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (2) Jan 14, 2019
Better than what? Sitting back and letting things happen by themselves? Overpopulation means conflict is inevitable and always has been
Climbing a mountain simply because it's there is the opposite of sitting back. And scientists have shown that even mice will turn on each other in an impoverished environment, but blaming conflict on overpopulation when the actual causes are purely systemic is dodging my point: a better system would have produced a thousand Elons, proportional to the population, rather than producing many wars and sharp reductions in the population. As it is with recent incidents where NASA scaremongered over weed and the SEC took punitive action over *checks notes* insider tweeting, it looks like the system can hardly tolerate just the one Elon...
TrollBane
5 / 5 (1) Jan 14, 2019
"Mars? Can it be a one-way trip with him on it?" Yes. Can we send you along to make sure he doesn't sneak off somehow? That way the comment section would be ever so slightly less irritating when Mars is on the far side of the sun...
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jan 14, 2019
Transport - yet to be developed. Self-reproducing robots - yet to be developed. Mars rated nuclear plants - yet to be developed. Mars suits - yet to be developed. Mars building materials - yet to be developed. Mars mining machinery - yet to be developed. Mars metals refineries - yet to be developed. Mars water and air refineries - yet to be developed
These are all in development using existing tech and materials. Machines love mars. Earth is much harder on machines than mars is.
Cont>
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jan 14, 2019
The main reason Columbus got his funding...

"As Columbus fled the court in Santa Fe, Luis de Santangel, financial advisor to the crown, persuaded Queen Isabella to change her mind at the last moment. He reasoned that the Enterprise, "offered so little risk yet could prove of so great service to God and the exaltation of His Church, not to speak of the very great increase and glory of her realms and kingdoms"

-Thats right, the opportunity to spread the word of god. Not financial gain, not the lust for conquest or the desire to explore, but religion.
I still have not seen how the economics can work
They dont have to 'work'. Explain the economic impetus for our arsenal of nuclear weapons.

US railroads drove initial investors into bankruptcy. There was no economic reason to build them. No markets for steel, coal. Passenger transport only became profitable right before ww2.

They were built entirely for sociopolitical reasons... nations for fighting world wars.
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (1) Jan 14, 2019
Ghost, I think you're doing Prometheus a disservice by suggesting that the essence of progress is using the fire to destroy your neighbors. Life exists in the turbulence between extremes, it's hard enough as it is, only gets harder when people are divided against each other, and every grand endeavor has always been a team effort...
JaxPavan
1 / 5 (1) Jan 14, 2019
Is it just me or does that thing look like a bad movie prop from an old black-and-white sci-fi or steampunk movie?

The only place that thing is going is into a giant psyop to pretend we are going to a gravity well called Mars, when really they are planning a head-fake to the asteroid belt, where there is at least some hope of returning economies of scale from mining.
Steelwolf
5 / 5 (1) Jan 15, 2019
If one tries to use the Economics of a Mars or Lunar settlement as it's only basis, then it is missing the point of settlements, exploration and man needing New Frontiers to further grow.

Doing things just for money is a very poor way to learn anything. Galileo with his hand-ground glass lenses and home-made telescope showed us worlds previously beyond imagine, and it had nothing to do with money or economics.

Our present economy is skewed by a few people who have all too much of it and fear letting it get into other hands lest they ALL start doing stuff like Musk: Progressive advancement of the sciences into tangible results.

The powers that be don't WANT tangible results without it being attributed to them. They force Musk to still use Kerosene and LOX and intentionally poor efficiency electric motors and energy storage, with short lifetimes requiring replacement frequently.

A Mars Colony will want stuff that LASTS and does not need replacing like lightbulbs or batteries
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (2) Jan 15, 2019
The only place that thing is going is into a giant psyop to pretend we are going...
lol snogard enigami -- maybe allowing the mainstream media to be used for propaganda on everyone wasn't such a good idea after all?
snoosebaum
not rated yet Jan 15, 2019
lol just look at that thing , 'retro' , indeed, gotta admire Elon Musk he has a great sense of humor
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jan 15, 2019
Ghost, I think you're doing Prometheus a disservice by suggesting that the essence of progress is using the fire to destroy your neighbors. Life exists in the turbulence between extremes, it's hard enough as it is, only gets harder when people are divided against each other, and every grand endeavor has always been a team effort...
Rubbish. history shows us that the only progress comes from competition. Competition DRIVES evolution.

And the kind of competition which made us human was and is the struggle among tribes for resources. Group selection determines the human condition.
http://rint.recht...rid2.htm

You can ply your pleasant poetry but it never got anybody anywhere, except maybe profs getting into coed panties. But then alls fair in love and war. No evolution without propagation eh?
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jan 15, 2019
lol just look at that thing , 'retro' , indeed, gotta admire Elon Musk he has a great sense of humor
-Or perhaps some scifi writers are as prescient as they think they are. It IS a pretty obvious design for mass production yes?

Dozens and dozens, headed out in every direction.

"Fox news 01-19-2084... The MkVII musk starship 'What the Fuck For?' has just radioed pics of the first successful landing on Titan."
Ken_Fabian
not rated yet Jan 15, 2019
Without the viable economics new frontiers don't grow, they just suck resources out of the parent economy until the charity gives out. Ghost towns are testament to chasing dreams that don't work.

There are no strategic gains from Mars colonies, nor are there for indigenes with souls to save and bodies to enslave. Mars will be more at risk of extinction events than Earth, not less, and will remain utterly dependent on a lifeline from Earth until it's economy reaches the capabilities of Earth's current one; R&D takes an economy with resources to commit and a population big enough to draw geniuses from on a constant basis.

Mars colonies aren't needing just a bit better technology that a few decades of welfare (for space corporations) could achieve, we are talking about multi-thousand fold cost reductions for space transport costs, that can make trade between Mars and Earth cost effective.
Protoplasmix
5 / 5 (1) Jan 15, 2019
You can ply your pleasant poetry
Open your eyes Ghost, the leader of Team Destruction wants to build tiny wall while others are growing cotton on the moon...
JaxPavan
not rated yet Jan 16, 2019
Trolls are really spamming this comment section hard. That's one way to tell if the story is propaganda.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Jan 16, 2019
Ghost towns are testament to chasing dreams that don't work
No, ghost towns are testament to technologies that have evolved and left the old ones behind.

Will the earth become a ghost town? Naw, more like a national park. Resources too expensive and ruinous to keep exploiting, massive ecology reclamation projects paid for by off-worlders because the few indigenes who are left have no way of supporting themselves... except for the tourist industry of course.

Martian resources untouched, massive, rich deposits right on and near the surface as they used to be here on earth. A few dozen AI skip loaders the same size as Curiosity, running 24/7, can do an enormous amount of work. An AI nuke tunneler with the diameter of a BFR can carve out a cubic mile a week.

Automated nuke processors and factories can run on the surface with no pesky air and water regs to slow then down. Human cities all underground, isolated, no vectors for disease or pollution... safe, secure, comfy.
TheGhostofOtto1923
5 / 5 (1) Jan 16, 2019
Without the viable economics new frontiers don't grow, they just suck resources out of the parent economy until the charity gives out
Like I said, martians will have their OWN economies, completely independent of earth.

You havent explained the economic benefit of our huge resource-sucking stockpiles of fissiles. Sure, profiteers got rich but there was no economic benefit in creating them. Their necessity was entirely strategic. And as it turns out, we cant leave earth without them. Coincidence?

Offworld colonies are a strategic necessity. The enemy in this case is the cosmos. But there are plenty of earthly enemies who will want to gain the advantage of the high ground first, which is why there is no doubt that these colonies will happen.
snoosebaum
not rated yet Jan 16, 2019
Mars is a shithole planet
Ken_Fabian
not rated yet Jan 16, 2019
New frontiers don't become self reliant or self-sufficient by being independent economies. Declaring independence doesn't make debts go away, just shifts them to people who aren't responsible for them - not a good start on doing things better than Earth. There is no strategic advantage in Mars colonies but committing resources to large scale projects that deliver no tangible returns can be a strategic mistake.

If we ever get humans living on Mars it will be testament to the extraordinary resources and opportunities of Earth, not of Mars.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jan 16, 2019
humans living on Mars it will be testament to the extraordinary resources and opportunities of Earth
They both have the same relative resources, albeit in different forms. Mars is a clean slate, the chance to do it over.

I dont think we realize just how bad off this planet may be. No natural barriers left to invasive species or pandemic. Residual toxins everywhere, plants and animals and ourselves full of them. Fecal matter in public beach sands. Bits of plastic everywhere. Who knows - maybe even AGW which may force us to rebuild much of it anyway. And of course far too many people, which wont be fixed for several gens, if ever.

Mars may be relatively human-unfriendly at the moment but it is a lot more machine-friendly than this planet is, and it is machines that will be doing most of the work. We can recreate ecosystems in vast underground spaces on mars rivaling our own. And importantly, we can keep them isolated from each other to avoid cross-contamination.

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