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Elon Musk and his Starship

Old 01-24-19, 08:20 AM
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Elon Musk and his Starship

In reading this Popular Mechanics article, I was amazed to see that his new Starship really looks like it belongs on a 1950's Sci Fi movie set.









https://www.popularmechanics.com/spa...ainless-steel/
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Old 01-24-19, 09:59 AM
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At first I didn't believe you. But I went to the website, and sure enough, he's using steel.

I don't take his Mars project seriously, but we can always use a vehicle with heavy lift capability.

The problem we've had with resuable vehicles is that, compared to making a single use rocket, going reusable is much, much, harder.

When we actually go to Mars, we will likely want triple backups where feasible. With Musk's rocket, any big problem at ANY stage is potentially lethal. At this point, our technology is nowhere near ready to do that.

Here's what I think needs doing. We need to bring everybody into the project, even the Russians. Before anyone gets there, we will want a base than can survive for decades. That means getting several feet underground, and running redundant nuclear power sources with their wires also underground.

The vehicle that brings people there, for the first time, should stay in orbit at Mars as a small station, with 3 shuttles. A station will need superb protection from radiation, a skeleton crew will stay on board. It will need extensive repair capabilities. It's kind of a long hike to get to a repair shop. One of the shuttles should be severely overdesigned, and saved for emergencies.

Even with a bunch of countries contributing, the cost will be significant. Any reasonable time frame means committing something like 3% of the national budget. IOW, not far below Apollo levels of funding.

But it's not something I would like to see started right now. We should build international cooperation with a series of projects, such as building a station at L5, and building a series of expensive science projects that would be tough for any one country to pull off.

Last edited by late; 01-24-19 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 01-24-19, 10:37 AM
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That SpaceX rocket is code named "BFR".

(Big Falcon Rocket)
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Old 01-24-19, 11:08 AM
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Re: A Mars mission. Why??
We have numerous and very serious problems facing us here on earth.
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Old 01-24-19, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post

Re: A Mars mission. Why??
We have numerous and very serious problems facing us here on earth.
There's a hundred reasons.

One is that work in Space will continue to help us deal with problems here.

Another is that we will eventually have to get things like rare earth elements, and they are in the outer regions of the Solar System.

This will spur technological development in dozens of areas, and one day, it might just give us a new world to live on. So what's a used world going for these days?
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Old 01-24-19, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
Re: A Mars mission. Why??
We have numerous and very serious problems facing us here on earth.
Ultimately it's about survival of the species. It will take a while before a Mars colony is completely self sufficient, but when that happens we'll have a backup planet in case one of our planets gets ruined.
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Old 01-24-19, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Then, I ask would it be really that bad if our species go extinct eventually.
Many people would argue that it would be bad. If you can imagine the last of our species on the verge of extinction wondering "why didn't our ancestors do something to prevent this?", wouldn't you feel empathy towards them? Isn't there a fundamental obligation to future generations?
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Old 01-24-19, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post

Many people would argue that it would be bad. If you can imagine the last of our species on the verge of extinction wondering "why didn't our ancestors do something to prevent this?", wouldn't you feel empathy towards them? Isn't there a fundamental obligation to future generations?
Extinction is a small price to pay if we can avoid taxes.
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Old 01-24-19, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by late View Post
There's a hundred reasons.

One is that work in Space will continue to help us deal with problems here.

Another is that we will eventually have to get things like rare earth elements, and they are in the outer regions of the Solar System.

This will spur technological development in dozens of areas, and one day, it might just give us a new world to live on. So what's a used world going for these days?
I understand, we used that same rational for NASA efforts. I am a big science supporter. I had only returned from the service but made it a point to watch the moon landing, as did millions of others. Thought all those same benefits, but along with benefits there were, are problems. The same science community that got us to the moon project, sort of, says our earth will cease to exist in about 4.5-5 billion years.
We are not likely to find an alternative place for our 7.5 billion earthlings let alone transport them wherever. I personally think we should clean-up what we have messed up here and make the best of it.
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Old 01-24-19, 01:53 PM
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Old 01-24-19, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post

1) I understand, we used that same rational for NASA efforts.

2) I am a big science supporter. I had only returned from the service but made it a point to watch the moon landing, as did millions of others. Thought all those same benefits, but along with benefits there were, are problems.

3) The same science community that got us to the moon project, sort of, says our earth will cease to exist in about 4.5-5 billion years.

4) We are not likely to find an alternative place for our 7.5 billion earthlings let alone transport them wherever. I personally think we should clean-up what we have messed up here and make the best of it.
1) No, we didn't. That happened because of the Cold War. After the Moon walk we began to learn how much NASA had done for us. In addition to those things, the tax revenue generated by the new business that resulted meant NASA paid for itself.

2) There are always problems. NASA can help. One of the projects we need to do in Space, that we could do better internationally, is a bunch of climate change satellites. It's a NASA proposal that was never fully funded.

3) Zero relevance. Unless you are saying that because we only have a few BILLION years left, we should commit suicide now???

4) That's a false dichotomy. We can do both, and in doing both, the new science and technology will improve our ability to deal with the problems we have here.

5) In any case, we aren't ready for Mars. But Space is ready, it's big business, and getting bigger every year.
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Old 01-24-19, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by late View Post
Extinction is a small price to pay if we can avoid taxes.
Very true.
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Old 01-24-19, 02:54 PM
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Didn't it just blow over?
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Old 01-24-19, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by late View Post
1) No, we didn't. That happened because of the Cold War. After the Moon walk we began to learn how much NASA had done for us. In addition to those things, the tax revenue generated by the new business that resulted meant NASA paid for itself.

2) There are always problems. NASA can help. One of the projects we need to do in Space, that we could do better internationally, is a bunch of climate change satellites. It's a NASA proposal that was never fully funded.

3) Zero relevance. Unless you are saying that because we only have a few BILLION years left, we should commit suicide now???

4) That's a false dichotomy. We can do both, and in doing both, the new science and technology will improve our ability to deal with the problems we have here.

5) In any case, we aren't ready for Mars. But Space is ready, it's big business, and getting bigger every year.
well, I don't see things the way you do, but for the sake of my children and my children's children, I hope you are more correct than I and wish you luck. I'm too far along the path to benefit or likely suffer either.
I do agree with your Sig line though.
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Old 01-24-19, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Then, I ask would it be really that bad if our species go extinct eventually. Look how we have devastated the planet and cost unimagineable amount of suffering on animals of all kind.
You know who else has caused unimaginable suffering for many kinds of animals? Bears. And sharks. And orcas. And mountain lions. Even house cats.

I'm sympathetic to your point, but that's what hiked into my mind when I read that.
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Old 01-24-19, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by late View Post
At first I didn't believe you. But I went to the website, and sure enough, he's using steel.
In the Starship photo, I first thought it was a Photoshop picture, but again, I was surprised it was the real deal. Elon Musk has a real sense of nostalgic humor.........Starman cruising the Solar System........
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Old 01-25-19, 12:10 AM
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That we have a unique environment here that has let life evolve to a point that we think we can make something better somewhere else has it's benefits. If they can figure a way to survive on Mars then to survive here should be a piece of cake...
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Old 01-25-19, 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
Re: A Mars mission. Why??
We have numerous and very serious problems facing us here on earth.
To get away from those
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Old 01-25-19, 12:54 AM
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I've been in the aerospace industry for nearly twenty years now if I count grad school, and I've become a cynical sceptic about a lot of things. Manned-NASA is high on the list, so are hypersonic airbreathers.

But SpaceX has proven itself. Elon does talk a lot about what he could do, but he also waits to get paid first unless it's something (like reusing boosters) that's going to save him money on things he already got paid to do.

As to whether it's possible to go to Mars - of course it's possible, it's been possible for fifty years. (It was more possible in the 1970's than now, actually, since we stopped working on nuclear rockets. It will get more possible again when at long last we figure out fusion.) Someone just needs to want it enough to pay for it. The problem is making it worthwhile. So far they haven't hit gold or oil so it's a hard sell to turn it back into Earth dollars.
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Old 01-25-19, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
I doubt a Mars colony is going to keep the specie going for very long...unless they can terraform the red planet into a green planet with atmosphere that can support plant and animal life and provide radiation shielding.

But the cost would be super enourmous. And I wonder how the 38% gravity of Mars would impact human colonists long term health. Colonists' offsprings would become not human anymore. I reckon they are look different from us. They will be Martians.

Then, I ask would it be really that bad if our species go extinct eventually. Look how we have devastated the planet and cost unimagineable amount of suffering on animals of all kind. When humans are all gone, the planet will heal itself, and after maybe a few million years, a another sentient life form will rise and rule the planet. Hopefully, they'll be wiser and not make the same mistake that we are making.
The bigger problem on Mars is the lack of a magnetic field around the planet. Without it the cosmic radiation from the sun would blow away any essential atmosphere, and genetic materials would be bombarded so much it would mutate rapidly (humans and plants would have to live underground). Yes, I know Venus has an atmosphere, but its got extreme gravitational and magnetic fields, and the gases in its atmosphere are a toxic mix of (principally) methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide that's considered 'heavier' than earths nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere. Not to mention the surface temp of Venus is something like 800F.

Barring an impact from a big asteroid or meteorite, the end of the Earth will probably be part of the end of our solar system. Best prediction is the sun will start to burn out in 4 billion years due to lack of hydrogen, so it will expand into a red giant and consume all the inner planets out to Mars. The outer planets (the 'gas giants') will still be there, but probably smaller and with altered orbits.
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Old 01-25-19, 01:06 PM
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You guys make it sound so complicated. All you do is press a little button and oxygen comes poring out of a mountain. Instant atmosphere on Mars.
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Old 01-25-19, 07:17 PM
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Useful in a thread like this. Someone else posted it recently but can't recall it if was on Bike Forums.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeli...the_far_future
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Old 01-25-19, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Useful in a thread like this. Someone else posted it recently but can't recall it if was on Bike Forums.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeli...the_far_future
We humans have a very myopic view of ourselves. In the grand scheme of things we have existed for a mere blink of an eye. Our grasp of "long-term" is tenuous at best. Earth's existence is itself a blink. In it's short existence there have been five "extinction" events, yet we consider ourselves somehow immune.
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Old 01-25-19, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by bikecrate View Post
You guys make it sound so complicated. All you do is press a little button and oxygen comes poring out of a mountain. Instant atmosphere on Mars.
Oh, sure, now where is that button...

See, exploration is indeed necessary, and maybe a bit of mining
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Old 01-25-19, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
We humans have a very myopic view of ourselves. In the grand scheme of things we have existed for a mere blink of an eye. Our grasp of "long-term" is tenuous at best. Earth's existence is itself a blink. In it's short existence there have been five "extinction" events, yet we consider ourselves somehow immune.
My impression is that thinking about extinction events is what drives Elon Musk.
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