Jan 03 2016

Mars is one step closer this week

23802553412_343d0810fb_zImagine how expensive it would be to book a flight if the aeroplane could be used only once.

Each rocket that is used to launch a satellite costs about the same to build as a Boeing 747.

A Boeing is flown about 10000 times. A rocket is used once.

The cost of a rocket is a major downer if you want to fly one million people to Mars.

Elon Musk has five major life goals, one of which is to make a back up copy of the human race on another planet, just in case something happens to earth. (see WILT Now I need to buy a Tesla – Wait, but why?).

To get enough people to Mars, the cost of space travel will have to come down by many orders of magnitude.

So, in 2002 he founded SpaceX, ‘one of the most unthinkable and ill-advised ventures of all time’. SpaceX redesigned the way of building rockets almost from scratch Against the odds has become one of NASA’s preferred providers to get stuff to the International Space Station.

The game plan for SpaceX is something like –

Step 1 – build a rocket for which people will pay you to deliver stuff into space (Falcon)
Step 2 – build a bigger rocket that can carry large payloads (Falcon 9)
Step 3 – make that rocket land intact so that you can use it again
Step 4- build an even bigger reusable rocket (Falcon heavy)
Step 4 – make the big reusable rocket reliable enough that it can transport people
Step 5 – start sending people to space
Step 6 – start sending people to Mars (Elon says 12 years time, so he will still be able to go)

On Dec 22nd, SpaceX were successful in Step 3. They landed their Falcon 9 rocket at the site from which it had taken off 10 minutes earlier. It is a major achievement. Check out this video of the landing.

And on January 1st, Elon Musk tweeted
Falcon 9 back in the hangar at Cape Canaveral. No damage found, ready to fire again.
Don’t bet against Elon Musk. Who would like to go to Mars in 2028

What I Learnt On 3rd January in other years

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