Multiplanetary Species

Recently, at the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico, Elon Musk announced his vision to turn mankind into a multi-planetary species. Like most of his visions, it’s a big, hairy, audacious dream: To build reusable spacecraft that can carry a 100,000 kg to Mars. That’s an earth-shatteringly big dream; which is typical for Mr. Musk.

In the video above, you can see the major pieces of the Interplanetary Transport System. It relies on two major orbital vehicles: a crew transporter and fuel transporter. The two vehicles will rendezvous in Earth orbit much like the Agena and Gemini spacecraft, then the crew transporter will tank in orbit, and then fly to Mars. The heavy lifter rocket and fuel transporter will both then return to the launch pad for recovery, repair, and return to service.

When they pull it off, it has the potential to reduce the overall costs of space travel as well as pushing mankind forward. And I think SpaceX is in the perfect niche to do that. My only criticism is I wish they had more competition. While Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin is working towards a similar goal, they are farther behind than SpaceX. We are sitting on the precipice of the next major step in man’s technological progression, much like we were at the turn of the 20th Century when multiple different companies and individuals were competing to make the first airplane. I firmly believe that only through cutthroat competition can we truly push to make interplanetary travel a reality. And I think NASA and all of the other government space agencies are not the right answer. To make the next leap, we will need to have the complete monetization of Space and that’s something only Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, and the wild-eyed, audacious dreamers of the future are capable of doing.

 

KSP Friday #1

I’m a huge space and aviation nerd. When I was a kid, I memorized all of the astronauts of the Apollo missions. So with that said, it should be no surprise I’m a huge fan of the video game Kerbal Space Program and also Scott Manley’s Youtube Channel. I love how he blends science and historical anecdotes with streams of him playing video games. Anyway, I used to post Kipling poems every Friday in the last incarnation of this blog and since I have shifted to a more science and tech focus, I’ve decided to post KSP-related stuff on Fridays. Here’s the first installment:

This is a video of Scott and Fraser Cain, the editor of Universe Today, discussing the recently announced Interplanetary Transport Ship all while building a replica of it in KSP. Enjoy.