When you think about it, we’ve sent some weird stuff into space.
Dogs, chimpanzees, cheese wheels, robots and even astronauts. But earlier this month serial entrepreneur and media tart Elon Musk, sent one of his beloved Tesla Roadsters into space! It’s OK, it was being driven by a mannequin called Starman and I’m sure he had his space license?
See Musk was out to make a point – that his company’s SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy was safe and had a bigger payload than a Toyota Hilux.
Since its inception in 2002, Musk’s SpaceX program has blazed a path of unheralded success, leaving in its wake a trail of historic events, the latest of which demonstrated his ownership of the most powerful operating rockets on the planet.
And what’s the final goal again? “To enable people to live on other planets”
Musk hopes to build a Martian community of 80,000 people and we are already seeing giant strides towards his goal being achieved.
The race for the planets is heating up and it is no longer only nations reaching for the finish line. One of Musk’s major rivals in this space race, Jeff Bezos, is taking notes. The Amazon founder is currently the richest man on earth, and if there’s another planet to conquer, he’s up for it.
His space company, Blue Origins, has had gains of its own; the latest, a successful launch of pods which he described as the largest “windows into space.”
“EARTH, IN ALL ITS BEAUTY, IS JUST OUR STARTING PLACE. WE ARE OF BLUE ORIGIN, AND HERE IS WHERE IT BEGINS.” – Blue Origins
Space projects used to be for rich governments’ their way of saying ‘we’ve got so much to spend, money is no object’.
In President Trump’s 2019 budget proposal he has allocated a staggering $19.9B to NASA.
See Donald too has visions of a new Trump Tower. His pet project, called the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, would “TRUMP” the current International Space Station, as instead of orbiting Earth, the lunar platform will orbit the moon.
Musk, Bezos, Branson and many others see space as the new frontier.
Space ventures are becoming cheaper and cheaper – they have to as technology improves.
John F. Kennedy delivered a landmark speech which focused on unity and willingness to take on challenges.
Today’s space entrepreneurs are proclaiming a more meaningful, relatable, and Star Trek-esque ambition – but it’s really just about the land! Space is full of minerals and soon tourists as well. But who can get there first?
In a 1982 Miami Herald interview, an 18-year-old Bezos, said that he wanted “to build space hotels, amusement parks and colonies for 2 million or 3 million people who would be in orbit.”
But who owns these hotels? Who owns the amusement parks? More importantly, who collects the Moula…..
To live on other planets, we would have to be able to perfect our ability to journey back and forth. The experimental era of space tourism is already upon us and as expected, SpaceX is up for the challenge. Last year the company announced that it would be flying two space tourists around the moon later this year.
Want to book your ticket? Easy, $20M bucks is all that it will take!
Believe it or not SpaceX has a waiting list full of rich adventure-seeking folks willing to pay a fortune for a moment in space.
“Holy flying f—, that thing took off!” – said Musk showing his relief and disbelief as the Falcon Heavy lifted off from Earth earlier this month. There are huge risks and challenges associated with space ventures.
In September 2016, a Falcon 9 exploded during a standard pre-launch static fire test and destroyed the load worth $200million.
That came after a Dragon capsule exploded just 2 minutes and 19 seconds into its flight in June the previous year. It takes a lot of guts to stay in this race; but the payoffs will be enormous!
Given the risks, maybe Musk’s paid up space tourists really do have more money than sense…..
Richard Branson reckons “we will never be able to build enough spaceships. The demand is enormous.”
Musk himself says he wants to die on Mars – probably a possibility give the lack of travel insurance options available to space travellers…..
Musk is selling everyone the story that he is developing an ambitious interplanetary transport system for tourism. However, the bigger prize will be found in whoever can enable man’s colonization of Mars, or any other planet for that matter, and who can find, mine and transport minerals across the galaxy.
The moon is only the starting point for space tourism.
But really, I think Musk summed it up when he said “I think we are at the dawn of a new era in commercial space exploration.”
My take? Planetary Tourism is just a front for mineral and land exploration. Follow the money and you will see what I’m mean.
Interestingly if you look over Trumps budget figures, the US will stop funding of the International Space Station after 2024 as the US will concentrate its efforts on its own spacebase.
“The Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway will give us a strategic presence in cislunar space (between the Earth and the Moon). It will drive our activity with commercial and international partners and help us explore the Moon and its resources…. We will ultimately translate that experience toward human missions to Mars.” William Gerstenmaier, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, NASA
Warren Ellis completely missed the point when he once said “The single simplest reason why human space flight is necessary is this, stated as plainly as possible: keeping all your breeding pairs in one place is a [foolish] way to run a species.”
This may be dumb, but not as dumb as the vested interests missing the opportunity to expand their holdings.
I think it’s better stated that “The single simplest reason why human space flight is necessary is to ensure the continuation and acceleration of land and mineral speculation…”
So please take your seats, ensure your tray-tables are safely stowed away, buckle your seat-belts as we are ready for take-off. This is Flight STR 777 to Mars…….
All photos from SpaceX