DailyDirt: A Mars Mission By 2018?!

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Space exploration is gradually becoming cheaper and more reliable. Reusable rockets haven’t proven to be economical yet, but presumably, they will be. Robot missions that roll around on the surface of other worlds have been shown to be very effective, if a bit slow, and bigger and better robots are probably going to be sent to more and more objects in space. However, people are still dreaming of colonizing the moon or Mars — and it looks like there has been some progress to be able to do so.

After you’ve finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.

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Companies: nasa, spacex

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Comments on “DailyDirt: A Mars Mission By 2018?!”

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14 Comments
JoeCool (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Why?

Yes we would. No matter how much “better” we take care of the planet, we cannot do anything about many extinction level events. Probably won’t be able to for many thousands of years… if we last that long.

Short term, we have things like super volcanoes and asteroids. Long term, we have things like “close” super novae and gamma ray bursts. Much much longer term, we have the eventual life cycle of our sun. Sure, WE probably don’t need to worry about any of this, and maybe our kids don’t either, but beyond that, humanity needs to consider these things.

First step probably is colonizing other worlds. But eventually, any world will run into the same problems and need to be abandoned. Eventually, fully self-sufficient space stations floating in the void of space will be the safest way to preserve humanity. We’ve always asked, “where are the other intelligent species?” They’re in space stations floating in the void between galaxies.

Stephen says:

Why 2018? Is there a rush to get to Mars?

The SpaceX article goes on to say the company’s “colonisation architecture” will be “reveal[ed] later this year” so we’ll have to see what they have in mind, though 2018 does sound a mite ambitious, especially as the rocket being contemplated for launching the mission has apparently yet to be tested.

Sources at SpaceX say that the Dragons will fly on the Falcon Heavy, a yet-to-be unveiled rocket that can be roughly described as three of its Falcon 9 rockets strapped together. The company intends to test the rocket for the first time in the fall of 2016, following a hold-up caused by a failed mission in 2015. Given the long history of delays at SpaceX and in the aerospace industry more generally, the 2018 target date should be taken with a grain of salt.

Given the length of time NASA has spent developing the SLS rockets, for SpaceX to be able to get their unbuilt and unblown Mars rocket ready in a mere two years sounds at best overly ambitious.

Why 2018 anyway? 2020 would seem a more realistic date.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Why 2018? Is there a rush to get to Mars?

SpaceX developed and launched its Falcon 9 rocket in less time and FAR less money than it took NASA to develop – unsuccessfully – Ares I.

SpaceX’s Mars rocket, Falcon Heavy, has been in development for several years and is expected to have its first launch in November. It’s essentially three Falcon 9 first stages strapped together with a Falcon 9 second stage on top, so most of the hardware has already flown.

Propellant crossfeed between the first stages and the extra staging events are a new wrinkle.

> Why 2018 anyway? 2020 would seem a more realistic date.

2018 sounds like the absolutely most optimistic date. If there are any bugs to work out with those new wrinkles in Falcon Heavy, it could push back the mission by a couple years.

And while the Dragon capsule is now making regular visits to ISS, it hasn’t done a propulsive landing from altitude yet. It has however done a short hover test, verifying that the propulsion system can be used to do so.

Keep in mind that the 2018 goal is for an unmanned lander. Colonization is much further in the future.

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