Rockets to Mars

After I read the Ashlee Vance book on Elon Musk in early 2015, I was convinced human beings were going to Mars in the next 5-10 years.  I kept meaning to write a blog post…

A few days ago, this August 2015 post How (and Why) SpaceX Will Colonize Mars by Tim Urban (Wait But Why) appeared on my Facebook newsfeed.

Mr. Urban spent 10 weeks research and writing, including many interviews with SpaceX founder Elon Musk, and concluded that Mars Colonization is inevitable.  I agree, so I will cherry-pick a few of his points and encourage you to invest the 2+ hours required to digest his arguments (and links to videos, images, etc.):

  • Human beings have long been fascinated with space; the USA/USSR space race took us to the moon; but since 1972, Governments have been content with putting satellites in orbit for Earth communications and imaging (and a little bit of space exploring);
  • Human beings only have one Earth; mass extinctions have happened in the past; so to safeguard our future, we must Colonize Mars (as the first step to becoming a multi-planetary species);
  • Elon Musk has the money, vision, and will to Colonize Mars; he started SpaceX to dramatically lower the cost of Space Travel; they are going from success to success, most recently (4/8/2016) landing a first stage rocket on a floating platform at sea;
  • Competition and Focus by for-profit companies like SpaceX is going to drive down the cost of Space Travel by many orders of magnitude; making it realistic to send hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands of people to (and from) Mars each year; (Elon Musk thinks that at least one million people, Mars will no longer depend upon Earth);
  • The first human being could step foot on Mars as early as 2018, though Elon Musk has predicted 2025 or 2027 as more likely;

Mr. Urban focuses on SpaceX, but Jeff Bezos‘s company Blue Origin has also been pursuing Space (albeit with much less PR).  On 1/22/2016, Blue Origin successful reused a rocket and returned it to land again on its own flame (as with SpaceX and the best science fiction).

The last human being left the moon (on Apollo 17) over 40 years ago (12/19/1972).  The future looks bright for humanity to once again reach for the stars.

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