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SpaceX Aims To Put Man On Mars In 10-20 Years

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the mars-needs-astronauts dept.

Mars 271

An anonymous reader writes "SpaceX hopes to put an astronaut on Mars within 10 to 20 years. From the article: '"We'll probably put a first man in space in about three years," Elon Musk told the Wall Street Journal Saturday. "We're going all the way to Mars, I think... best case 10 years, worst case 15 to 20 years."'"

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misleading monday; fake weather fails again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928012)

there's just no sign of us learning anything anymore. disarm

Bullshit! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928030)

Bullshit! Anonymous Coward called it 25th April 2011.

So was Obama right? (3, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928038)

To put the emphasis on improving LEO access first (through better lower cost commercialized technologies) than trying to push the shuttle derived Ares program (that republicans have been trying to resurrect.)?

If Space-X can meet its goal of $1,000/lb. to LEO (one TENTH) the cost of the space shuttle, I would think so!

Re:So was Obama right? (1)

x*yy*x (2058140) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928056)

If he has any sense at all, he is probably worried about Chinese and Indians taking over the space business. Hell, if I ran a space company I would probably work out some deal either with Russians or Chinese. The only thing why US is good for it now is because of investors. But with the tens of russian billionaires and thousands of russian millionaires out there, it would probably be easy to get money from there too. After all, major Russian investor company owns big share of Facebook and other US based companies too..

Re:So was Obama right? (1)

SJ2000 (1128057) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928346)

The only thing why US is good for it now is because of investors. But with the tens of russian billionaires and thousands of russian millionaires out there, it would probably be easy to get money from there too. After all, major Russian investor company owns big share of Facebook and other US based companies too..

Disregard Chinese mom and pop investors at your own risk.

Re:So was Obama right? (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928394)

I wouldn't worry, give them enough time and they will put too much trash up there for us to even think about heading into space.

Re:So was Obama right? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928426)

Hell, if I ran a space company I would probably work out some deal either with Russians or Chinese.

Hell, if I were an investor, I would listen to the hype with a seasoned skeptical ear:

(From TFS:) Elon Musk told the Wall Street Journal Saturday. "We're going all the way to Mars, I think...

I, for one, would hope they weren't planning on driving halfway there before running out of petrol.

Re:So was Obama right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928540)

The Chinese recently came out and said they can't compete with SpaceX's pricing. The China craze is coming to an end in general as the Chinese are asking for higher and higher salaries and benefits. Yeah anyway, don't worry...

(Cue dramatic music)

Movie preview guy: They thought it was coming to an end. They thought they would have to spend billions of dollars hiring American workers.

Board member: "Man, if we continue like this the company will be toast in five months."

Movie preview guy: They thought the days of endless profit and ever growing bonuses were over.

CEO: "I promised Annie a private jet. I don't know how I'm going to break this to her."

Movie preview guy: They thought the unions would overpower the government.

Chairman of the board: "FUUUUUUUUCK!"

Movie preview guy: They were wrong.

(Cue Indian music)

Indian guy: "We have thirteen million applicants with master's degrees."

CEO: "What?"

Indian guy: "They are all more qualified than your current employees sir."

Movie preview guy: Outsourcing to Asia.

Movie preview guy: Part Three.

Movie preview guy: India.

Annie: "Oh honey. I love you."

Indian engineer: "Do you want the report tomorrow morning sir?"

Re:So was Obama right? (2)

Americium (1343605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928692)

It was illegal for US investors to invest in Facebook. They made a shady deal with Goldman Sachs that let them go public without financial disclosure, so shady that even Goldman wouldn't let US investors invest.

Re:So was Obama right? (1)

Americium (1343605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928726)

correction, not go public, but do some wierd investment scheme that borders on it.

Re:So was Obama right? (-1, Offtopic)

hey! (33014) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928112)

I hate to be a grammar nazi, but you just modified a noun referring to Barack Obama with an adjective with unambiguously positive connotations. You should write instead, "So, did Obama manage to pull the wool over our eyes?" or possibly, "So, was Obama less wrong than he usually is?"

Re:So was Obama right? (1)

taiwanjohn (103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928144)

Agreed. I was skeptical when they announced the plan to ditch Ares and go with commercial launch services, but SpaceX has been steadily chugging along in the meantime, racking up a pretty successful track record. The Falcon rocket has performed well (from what I can see, not being a rocket scientist myself), and I've read/heard that the Merlin engine is a simple, reliable design.

I must say I'm still a bit skeptical about the 10~15 year target. For orbiting Mars, sure, but to actually land on Mars?

Then again, if a nation state could land on the moon in under a decade with 1960's technology, perhaps a private company could do it in under 15 with 2010's technology. I hope they do.

Re:So was Obama right? (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928632)

I must say I'm still a bit skeptical about the 10~15 year target. For orbiting Mars, sure, but to actually land on Mars?

It will almost certainly take more than SpaceX to put men on Mars. For one SpaceX is a commercial company so someone has to pay - much like NASA is paying for ISS missions, I guess they could pay for a Mars mission. Secondly SpaceX is a rocket company, I doubt they'll develop all the other bits needed. I'm guessing this is to fire up everyone else, like "We're ready to do the rocketry... are you ready for the rest?"

Re:Skeptical (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928642)

I believe the tech is there. After all, we made the moon with laughable tech. Put slightly facetiously, we need to take a page out of 75 years of SF and get 16 cores of Intel goodness to help drive us there. The big deal with all those 1-shot earth side calcs for the moon is that they had no backup comps to do calcs on the fly.

Funny though, that's like three positive space stories in a couple of weeks. I guess people were upset that we looked like we were sinking into squabbling down here.

Re:So was Obama right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928678)

It all depends on whether it is a one way trip - Mars' gravity well is a lot deeper than the Moon's after all. Pulling off a Martian moon landing seems like it would be doable (though there is the question of why) but you need to get a much bigger payload to Mars if you want to get anything home.

Re:So was Obama right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928288)

I'm sorry but can you cite me where Obama "put the emphasis on improving LEO access first"? I don't recall this at all and a fast search didn't find anything either.
 
It seems that Obama changed the mission of NASA like every other administrations does: No concern about how much is invested in the technology but instead to act like they're taking the reigns of science like they know their ass from a hole in the ground.
 
If Slashdotters had an ounce of integrity they'd shout down this kind of political dickering in scientific affairs.

Re:So was Obama right? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928512)

If Slashdotters had an ounce of integrity they'd shout down this kind of political dickering in scientific affairs.

Owing to a worldwide shortage, the SI-approved unit for integrity is now the yoctogram or yoctolitre (depending on whether you refer to ounces avoirdupois or fluid ounces).

Re:So was Obama right? (1)

LaissezFaire (582924) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928650)

Politically, I think it was more of an exchange of space science / engineering dollars disappearing to placate the entitlement spending crowd. Space is frequently a whipping boy "we need to take care of [X] down here on earth before we go to [the moon|Mars]".

SpaceX had already launched before the 2008 elections, and the shuttle program has been a dead man walking for years. Granted, I prefer commercial space exploitation than government, but in Mr. Obama's case I think it was a happy coincidence of interests, not a core philosophy change.

Re:So was Obama right? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928674)

Maybe but Space X has not put a person into orbit yet or launched the Falcon 9 Heavy. And of course NASA was predicting a man a Mars, moon bases, and large manned spacestations by the 1990s back in the 1960s. Af could have done all of that as well if someone would have paid for it.

Re:So was Obama right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928886)

There is a first time for everything.

Dear Elon (4, Insightful)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928040)

Thank you for having the vision, the money, and the balls to do these great things.

Regards,
Geeks everywhere.

Re:Dear Elon (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928184)

So far they're just talking a good game but I'll be the first in line to say what you said if/when they pull this off.

Re:Dear Elon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928186)

He got A LOT of money from PayPal.

This space stuff is being financed by Evil.

Elon is on drugs (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928404)

SpaceX Aims To Put Man On Mars In 10-20 Years

And I aim to win Lotto next Saturday.

In 10-20 years, we'll be lucky if we're not living in the world of Mad Max.

Re:Elon is on drugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928648)

According to you nutters wasn't civilization already supposed to have collapsed? Now it's 10-20 years? And when that prediction fails how long will you push it back that time?

Re:Elon is on drugs (1)

ThatMegathronDude (1189203) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928968)

Until they're right :tinfoil:

Re:Dear Elon (1)

ron_ivi (607351) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928756)

> Thank you for having the vision, the money, and the balls to do these great things. ... Geeks everywhere.

I thought Musk ended up getting in fights and/or lawsuits with many of the geeks he's worked with. (Eberhard of Tesla; Thiel and
Levchin of Paypal)
http://blogs.reuters.com/small-business/2009/06/22/tesla-founders-feud-a-cautionary-tale/ [reuters.com]

And didn't he recently announce he was broke?
http://www.autoblog.com/2010/05/30/teslas-elon-musk-says-hes-broke/ [autoblog.com]

Hope he doesn't fly the geeks to Mars and then charge them extra to bring them back.

Plan: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928052)

Send man to his death in 10-15 years.

Re:Plan: (1)

x*yy*x (2058140) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928062)

But that sure is one expensive way to go!

Re:Plan: (2)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928180)

If your going to die, you might as well go out with a bang, on someone else's dime, in the most glorious fashion possible.

  Just remember lots of people will remember your name if your the first person to walk on mars, and never come home.

Re:Plan: (1)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928742)

> Just remember lots of people will remember your name if your the first person to walk on mars, and never come home.

Let me be the first to say "Yay...".

Re:Plan: (1)

Cold hard reality (1536175) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928744)

What's so glorious about an 8 month trip in a tin can, followed by a putting your boots and uttering the required one-liner, followed by a couple of years of collecting rocks in a featureless desert?

Cause of death is likely to be boredom.

Re:Plan: (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928198)

It sure beats the more conventional ways to go! Waiting to die is no fun at all. Planning to die really sucks the life out of you. I think if there were a way to go, that's on the top of my list.

Nothing much new here... (2)

taiwanjohn (103839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928060)

While I heartily support the effort, this isn't exactly news. Musk has said similar things in the past couple of years, but this time he happens to have said it to the Wall Street Journal.

Funding... (1)

Skywolfblue (1944674) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928070)

I really don't see how spaceX is going to get the kind of money that a mars mission would need. Props to them if they can actually get investors to line up for it.

Re:Funding... (1)

x*yy*x (2058140) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928102)

If you have played Portal 2, you'd know there are some crazy investors putting out money there just because when something new gets invented or you're first in mars building the infrastructure and have won everyone else, the rewards are huge.

People always complain how someone got hugely successful just because he was there at the right time. Well, this might be one of those time, and it can be absolutely insane opportunity.

Re:Funding... (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928146)

If you had played portal 2 you would build a giant airlock, put a portal inside, and put another (insert ending here).

That is how you get to mars on the cheap.

Re:Funding... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928546)

Has martian rock been proven Portal-conducting?

Re:Funding... (5, Insightful)

saider (177166) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928116)

The previous generation of space contractors is focused around government jobs. This has created a broad patchwork of subcontractors that is organized to be in as many congressional districts as possible. All these layers create "profit stack-up" that bloats the price of a vehicle.

SpaceX is vertically integrated, which means that they don't have to pay as many subcontractors, which drives down the price. We'll see if they can withstand the assault from the entrenched players.

Re:Funding... (1)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928610)

Hopefully the entrenched players will be hamstrung by NASA's new funding paradigm for COTS. However, big companies have made billions from the STS missions and will be contacting politicians to resurrect the old status quo. From an engineering perspective, I like SpaceX's chances. From a political standpoint, they have a tough fight ahead of them.

MC

Re:Funding... (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928614)

The other very important point is that SpaceX has to stay in business. The government will be around whether we like it or not, so their incentives are different. And with luck, SpaceX will have competition that will drive them even further. Again, government doesn't have competition save for the meaningless of who's voted into office currently. SpaceX has to think about staying ahead. Government stays in business by edict and law. I'll take economic drivers rather than legal ones any day.

Re:Funding... (2)

auric_dude (610172) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928838)

The BBC has a radio offering http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b010dw0k/In_Business_Watch_This_Space/ [bbc.co.uk] (available for afew more days) detailing some of the businmess ideas behing Space-X and others. IMHO this is well worth a listen "America's space effort faces big upheavals as President Obama reigns in government spending and NASA is told to work in partnership with private enterprise. From the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida and the Mojave Desert, Peter Day asks what happens next on the USA's journey into space." Show the part played by both private business funding and new building methods.

Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow... (3, Interesting)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928080)

I'm so sick of all these various companies, and government space programmes telling us what they can do in 10 or 20 years. Apparently everyone and his dog will be on Mars by then, meanwhile nobody has actually walked even on the Moon in nearly 40 years. Don't get me wrong, I'd like very much for someone to do all these things they predict, but I wish they'd just shut up and do them instead of talking about all the great things they're going to do.

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (1)

x*yy*x (2058140) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928126)

Well, is there really anything worth it in the moon? If there was some precious metals or something, I'm sure there would be lots of companies trying to get them and turn it into money. But there isn't. On the other hand, Mars surely could have such.

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928188)

If there was some precious metals or something, I'm sure there would be lots of companies trying to get them and turn it into money. But there isn't. On the other hand, Mars surely could have such.

Yes it probably does. I'd very much like to know how anyone intends to make a profit of taking a mining operation to Mars and then shipping the stuff back to Earth. That's once they've found it of course. No point going sending machinery and people until you know just where you're sending them. And finding it is probably the one thing that we could actually do with robots using today's technology. But nobody's doing that AFAIK - it's all talk about manned missions for the bragging rights (with maybe a little science on the side).

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928254)

Nothing wrong with bragging rights. Have you forgotten the message behind Armstrong's "one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind"? You have to start somewhere!

Helium 3 and location (3, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928328)

Well, is there really anything worth it in the moon?

There's a low-gravity, no-atmosphere location from where it's possible to launch missions to anywhere in the solar system much cheaper than from the earth.

There's local supply of building materials, ample material for shielding against radiation, and things don't need to be so flimsy and fragile as something that's built in orbit.

Besides, there's the possibility of mining Helium 3, which has been assumed to be one of the possible means to obtain nuclear fusion power.

I can't see what would be the reason, either technical or financial, to go to Mars before building a permanent moon base.

Re:Helium 3 BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928472)

If someone mentions He3 as a potential fusion fuel as a reason to go to the moon, he's pushing an agenda.

He3 is not a realistic reason to go to the moon, by any stretch of the imagination.

There is no shortage of D on earth. There is way more D on earth than there is He3 on the moon. It is easy to mine D from earth. It is difficult to mine He3 from the moon: the meagre million tons of it are spread over the entire surface of the moon. Moreover, He3 is more difficult to fuse than is D. And even controlled D fusion is, as they say, decades, away.

There may be all kinds of reasons to go to the moon, He3 as a fusion fuel is not one of them.

Re:Helium 3 and location (2, Interesting)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928504)

There's a low-gravity, no-atmosphere location from where it's possible to launch missions to anywhere in the solar system much cheaper than from the earth.

How many launches does it take to amortize the cost of building a rocket factory on the moon ?

Re:Helium 3 and location (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928684)

...who said you have to build a rocket factory? An inside-out railgun [harvard.edu] will do the job easier, cheaper, and repeatedly.

Re:Helium 3 and location (0)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928786)

Depends on where you want to go. If you're trying to send a probe to Jupiter, you'll need a very big railgun to get the necessary speed.

Re:Helium 3 and location (3, Informative)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928544)

Forget Helium-3 as an energy source. We can't even build a working D-T fusion reactor yet, let alone something that can burn He3. Talk to me in fifty years, when we have DEMO built, and can demonstrate a working fusion power plant, before we even consider the idea.

The He3 argument has been used by a lot of people as a (silly) argument for a human presence on the Moon for quite a while, and it's not a very good one. We can't burn He3 yet, it's not economical to ship (it's an isotope of helium, it takes up lots of space and is not dense at all, or would have to be expensively cryogenically cooled). It's an economic non-starter.

There are better fuel sources on the Moon anyway. If we were to build science bases or observatories on the Moon, we would need a reliable power source to last through the two-week lunar nights. There's quite a bit of extractable thorium on the Moon, and compact molten-salt reactors like LFTR would likely do the job nicely, with far less technical risk. Not sure if studies have been done, on whether or not we can mine, refine and use thorium without it leaving the Moon, but it seems more practical than assembling a 10000 ton fusion reactor + associated plant from parts shipped from Earth.

There ARE loads of things we could do on the Moon. Mining helium-3 isn't one of them.

Re:Helium 3 and location (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928612)

The technical easiest thing to do would be a solar thermal plant that stores enough excess heat in a heat tank to run from that during "night time".

A thorium reactor is not much easier to build than a fusion reactor (talking about materials and parts here, not about the fact that both don't work reliable or don't work at all right now)

angel'o'sphere

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (1)

microbox (704317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928336)

Well, is there really anything worth it in the moon?

If we could develop the technology for a fully functional permanent base: food production, living space, life-style (exercise), robot miners, energy production -- then we will be well on our way to colonising the stars. Also, with 1/6th the gravity well and no atmosphere, the moon may be a better place to plan and execute further exploration.

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (1, Troll)

Arlet (29997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928584)

Except that the closest star is something like 100 million times as far as the moon, and there's no guarantee the closest star is any good.

To visit the stars, we first need anti-matter based rocket propulsion, which we won't find on the moon.

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928458)

There are lots of elements on the moon that could be utilized to help launch from the moon to mars or elsewhere, from lower gravity. The smart thing to do is use robots to build a moon base, and proceed further from there.

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (1)

Cold hard reality (1536175) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928768)

There's no abundant source of energy like we have on earth (oil).

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928128)

Really... At least nuclear fusion is only a decade away, like it's been for the past 50-60 years.

Is this the new nuclear fusion?

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (1)

microbox (704317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928342)

It has been 50 years away for about 50 years. Still dismal, but no-where near as bad as you say. And progress is still being made, so one-day we may have fusion still.

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928402)

Really... At least nuclear fusion is only a decade away, like it's been for the past 50-60 years.

Is this the new nuclear fusion?

Humorously, you are exactly correct, for reasons that you probably don't know. Both are well within our technological reach, both repeatedly have been determined to be possible given a decade of funded work, both have repeatedly had "political" declarations that we'll do it, both without any budgetary follow thru.

For at least fifty years, if someone would slap down the stack of cash, in a decade you'd have a fusion plant or a moon colony.

At least one problem is the technology has been improving faster than construction can happen. For example, a 1950s fusion reactor would probably resemble a very large linear accelerator across the state of TX, using an old fashioned "mirror machine" design. But it would require something like the national steel output for a year to build the casing, the world wide copper output for a decade to wind the magnets, blah blah blah, and you'd even up with some multiple of the entire planets generating capacity. Which would make scheduled maint kinda problematic. Now a days you could build one vaguely powerplant sized, more or less, but the R+D costs using live hardware would be kinda expensive... Can't you just wait a decade for more studies to get the reactor wall perfected in simulation before cutting metal?

In a similar way, a 1950s mars colony would have been kind of expensive and risky... Almost certainly this will continue, and a 2020-designed colony will be quite a bit more expensive and risky than a 2030-designed colony...

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928708)

Both are well within our technological reach, both repeatedly have been determined to be possible given a decade of funded work, both have repeatedly had "political" declarations that we'll do it, both without any budgetary follow thru.

While you are basically right with your points, I really doubt that we will have any hot fusion in the near future. The current reactors are attempting to compress the plasma with magnetic fields. We try this since 30 or 40 years, and every physicist knows that using electric fields would be 100 times more efective (See Fusor reactor types).
I doubt we will ever have fusion for power generation on earth. Perhaps as a "engine" in space crafts ... but likely never as a power plant.

angel'o'sphere

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (2)

LaissezFaire (582924) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928596)

We don't have the basic science for nuclear fusion, though. Mars is largely an engineering problem, not science.

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928134)

Perhaps you are forgetting, but SpaceX is driving the astronomical technology race. They may not be able to place a man on the moon just yet, but their technology is constantly improving in design and efficiency. No need to handle legacy systems and some of the best engineers in the world.

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (1)

damburger (981828) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928216)

Musk doesn't have the money to go to Mars. He doesn't have the technology yet. However, he can make SpaceX popular with credulous nerves by making a "10 or 20 years" claim.

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (3, Informative)

LaissezFaire (582924) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928274)

SpaceX is building rockets, so they are doing things in line with going to Mars.

Space programs take a quite a long time to develop. The average government satellite takes around 12-16 years from development to operation. They have to think 10-20 years out.

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (1)

CaptainLard (1902452) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928320)

Ok I'll shut up for now. In the meantime, can you please provide me with $10 billion in funding? I'll let you know what it was for in 20 years.

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928322)

Quit whining - there's an investment opportunity for all in the next Big Thing - trips to Mars. Be the first to be seen walking on Mars using the Bubble telescope. Bring your own tulips.

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928476)

Well you see, if you want o go to Mars, you have to pay for going to Mars. One of the ways to pay for going to Mars is too talk a really good game and see if people pony up some cash. Talking a good game is not sufficient, but absent Bill Gates as a financial backer, it's necessary. (Realistically even Bill couldn't provide sole financial backing for this most likely)

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928528)

That's the wonderful thing about making predictions 10 or 20 years out: The predictor will never be called to account if the prediction fails to be accurate. Even better are those predictions about what will be possible in 50 years, because by the time the 50 years is done the person who made the prediction is either retired or dead.

The simple fact is that Hari Seldon doesn't exist, and thus any prediction beyond the next year or so is more or less complete BS. (This rule also goes for federal budget projections, so bear that in mind

And I support efforts to get to Mars, I just don't like BS predictions.

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (1)

Americium (1343605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928574)

Then read the front page of a newspaper and not Slashdot.

Re:Tell me when you can put a man on Mars tomorrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928778)

So, you don't want anyone to say anything about anything until what, the day before they do it? Week before ok?

Support (1)

dtmos (447842) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928084)

I've always said that I'd support putting someone on Mars -- if I could choose who it would be. (At the moment, I have several candidates in mind.)

Re:Support (2)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928292)

I am still waiting for the announcement "We can get someone to Mars AND bring him BACK in X number of years". I mean we could put people on the Moon everyday by strapping them on one our fairly limited rockets shot off on the right trajectory. It might take a while to get there and the landing could be a little rough but by god they would eventually get there. Of course that would leave us with the big question of What Next? I still think trying to capture a good sized asteroid and placing it in orbit so we could work at turning it into a generation ship for those who really want to get a good look at space and all it's wonders. Such a project would allow us to really get the hang of working and testing new ideas in space manufacturing and life support adaptations for low gravity environments.

Re:Support (1)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928662)

Barack Obama? Just kidding lol. -- Oh wait, no I'm not.

And the return trip? (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928104)

In TFA, he doesn't mention a return trip. Is that intentional? A one way trip to mars makes a lot of sense.

Re:And the return trip? (1)

kayumi (763841) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928232)

They will start thinking about that when the first crew its in its way.

It is the same technique used with nuclear power and final disposal of radioactive garbage.
This technique has been perfected over the years an is now widely considered to be adequate
(at least for stockholders of the respective companies)

Re:And the return trip? (1)

kayumi (763841) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928276)

To whom it may concern. I beg thy forgiveness for all the sins I committed against the holy trinity (spelling, grammar and punctuation) with my previous post.

Not going until (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928114)

I'm not going until they can get some women on Mars too.

Re:Not going until (1)

x*yy*x (2058140) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928136)

But imagine if you would go and find a female-only race there. You would be the only man surrounded by tons of beautiful female aliens.

Re:Not going until (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928262)

Specially if the planet is Amazonia :)... and the women are 3m tall: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0584431/

Re:Not going until (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928554)

Yeah, or it could be a blue-skinned race of distinctly female humanoids with octopus hats for hair who reproduce through telepathic rape.

Re:Not going until (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928244)

I'm not going until they can get some women on Mars too.

Exactly; I remember back in the 80s Peter Wolf informing us all of this need.

Re:Not going until (1)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928268)

I'm holding out for asian women on Mars. I have a dream.

Bah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928132)

We were promised jetpacks and flying cars, finish those first.

I want to see the space elevator or a mech before I die damn it!!

Re:Bah... (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928138)

I want to see the space elevator or a mech before I die damn it!!

Well the latest Terminator judgement day came and went without incident, but if it turned out to be true a mech could have been the last thing you saw before you died!

And I hope to have a harem of geeky supermodels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928148)

It's more realistic than SpaceX's goal.

Baby Steps (1)

s31523 (926314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928226)

Before any agency, public or private, starts making claims of getting to mars it would seem prudent to have demonstrated some baby steps toward that goal. SpaceX is one agency charged with replacing the Space Shuttle, and it seems years away from that. There are no detailed plans on the propulsion technology that would be used to get to mars, or even the moon. There are no plans for building various outposts that a mars vehicle could dock with to re-supply. I think mars is a stretch. Until we are avid moon visitors I hold any claims of getting to mars as a joke.

Re:Baby Steps (1)

beaverdownunder (1822050) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928272)

I think it'd be even better to at least see humans get free of Earth orbit again. Until then, I view any claims of getting back to the Moon as a joke.

Re:Baby Steps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35928580)

SpaceX is not "charged" with replacing anything, and they are not an "agency" either. They are contractors to the U.S. Government, and they are contracted to provide launch services of a particular kind. Nobody is going to replace the Space Shuttle, because it has been experimentally proven to be a fairly silly idea in the first place.

Mars, A postive influence on the world today. (1)

upuv (1201447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928246)

Who would have thought it. Mars could well be the thing that puts a positive influence on the world economy and world direction.

The moon landing energised the world, it literally invented modern computing technology.

Why can't a Mars landing?

In order to get to Mars significant advances in material, energy, and food science are going to have to be achieved. All of which would have real world positive impacts.

Re:Mars, A postive influence on the world today. (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928718)

The moon mission was very inspiring, but it certainly did not "invent modern computing technology," literally or figuratively. That's just silly.

Who's paying for it (1)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928286)

I'm glad to hear it confirmed that SpaceX really does have ambitions beyond LEO. Still, I can't believe that they could afford to do this just because they want to. Somebody has to pay for it. Will the US Congress ever decide to fund space exploration to the necessary level and for long enough that they could pay SpaceX to do this? I am very skeptical. Is there someone else out there that would? Maybe a few other nations could but they would probably chose a company within their own countries. Not that I think they would... they didn't fund anybody's trip to the moon when that was the big race. Maybe they intend to get corporate sponsors? A WHOLE LOT of them.

Re:Who's paying for it (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928490)

I'm glad to hear it confirmed that SpaceX really does have ambitions beyond LEO.

Study your orbital mechanics. Launchers are not constant delta-v machines. They are constant energy machines. Aside from some peak acceleration limits, and some adjustments in the guidance package, a booster that puts X zillion Kg into LEO IS the same machine that puts X divided by some single digit-ish number all the way into Mars orbit.

So they're planning a really freaking huge LEO booster. But we already knew that. And if you can boost 200 tons into LEO you can boost 30 tons all the way to Mars. But we already knew that too. So it doesn't really say much.

Somebody has to pay for it.

Daydreaming about mission profiles is pretty much free. They're in the business of burning fuel ... Don't much care where they go.

Standard /. car analogy... BP has the technology to gimme 100 gallons of burnable gas. They can daydream all they want about the road trips I could take, but it doesn't much matter. I can burn those 100 gallons in my wife's Prius and go 6000 miles, or burn those 100 gallons in my coworkers RV and go 400 miles, and what BP thinks about it, frankly doesn't matter much, they're in the burnable fuel business not the travel agency business.

Re:Who's paying for it (1)

Moby Cock (771358) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928640)

SpaceX is planning to make LEO launches profitable. That way companies wanted satellites launched will contact SpaceX, not NASA. Those profits are then spent on R&D for the Mars mission. But you're right, the Mars mission has little profit prospects from the outset (perhaps mineral mining in the future will be profitable, but I doubt it). NASA will need to fund the Mars mission for a large part.

Re:Who's paying for it (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928846)

How much would you pay to be the first man on Mars?

Talking out of his backside (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928482)

There is no way they can even come close.

This is just a way to get money from clueless investors, of which there are plenty. It is also free publicity.

Death and exploration (1)

GoodBuddy (1846360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928790)

Well, if I recall correctly there were lots of deaths as the European's did their exploration of the "new world". However, our legal system discourages this type of risk today.

So if this is to be accomplished it won't be in the west. Perhaps Asia or the third world?

may i be the first to say... (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#35928928)

get your ass to Mars

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