back to article Elon Musk reveals Mars colony rocket capable of bringing pizza joints to the red planet

Elon Musk has published his blueprint for “Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species” by establishing a self-sufficient city on Mars. Elon Musk Elon Musk's Mars colonisation plan in a nutshell Musk reckons humanity needs to get off-planet before an extinction event comes along and that Mars is the best candidate for that …

Silver badge

So Musk wants to invent the ICBM, eh?

I wonder what kind of "package" exists that "absolutely, positively has to get anywhere on Earth in 25 minutes or less" ... NaaS anybody?

5
0

Re: So Musk wants to invent the ICBM, eh?

I bet Mr. Kim would buy that for a Won (i.e. a ‎₩)...

6
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: So Musk wants to invent the ICBM, eh?

I wonder what kind of "package" exists that "absolutely, positively has to get anywhere on Earth in 25 minutes or less"

Duh, same answer as for the hyperloop: fast food.

:)

4
0
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: So Musk wants to invent the ICBM, eh?

I believe the current euphemism is "physics package".

6
0
Silver badge

Fuel on Mars

Kerosene can't be made on Mars as we're pretty sure there's no oil up there.

Well, you almost certainly synthesise kerosene from methane but the additional energy density probably isn't worth it.

However, much as I admire what Musk has achieved thus far, this is worse than a pipe dream and close to outright fraud at least as long as it is anywhere near an existing business interest like Space X. This is more than simply trying to protect investors: getting people safely to and from Mars is about a lot more than motors and fuel.

2
9

Re: Fuel on Mars

"close to outright fraud"?

Please explain (remembering than SpaceX is a privately held company)

11
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Fuel on Mars

"close to outright fraud"?

Please explain (remembering than SpaceX is a privately held company)

I reckon what he means to say is that it's all but a front: in reality, Musk is building the B Ark :)

11
0
Bronze badge

Re: Fuel on Mars

I reckon what he means to say is that it's all but a front: in reality, Musk is building the B Ark :)

What? I don't think he's BArking mad. A visionary maybe, eccentric absolutely.

5
0
Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: Fuel on Mars

"What? I don't think he's BArking mad. A visionary maybe, eccentric absolutely."

0/10 - Turn in your copy of "The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" immediately!

4
0
Silver badge

Re: Fuel on Mars

getting people safely to and from Mars is about a lot more than motors and fuel.

True. But without motors and the fuel to, er, fuel them, you won't be going anywhere.

Leaving earth is our first step into space. And, assuming a) my faith is misplaced and b) something nasty this way comes, leaving earth is the only way for humanity to survive. Though looking at the elections recently in a couple of countries with "United" in their name, maybe humanity shouldn't survive....

5
0
Silver badge

Re: Fuel on Mars

I reckon what he means to say is that it's all but a front

More or less, SpaceX relies on government contracts to keep going.

If there is any kind of problem with cashflow, then a tried and tested method to hide it, is to raise new capital for a supposedly new, ground-breaking scheme. Doing this with an existing company achieves three things: it masks existing problems and it reduces the cost of capital associated with the new risk; allows you to buy off any existing investors who want out. If you want to know why we have public stock exchanges and for examples of similar schemes then you might look at railways in the 19th century.

Note, I'm not accusing Musk of fraud, though the Tesla / Solar City deal looks very much like it. I'm sure he is capable of raising a great deal of "lose your shirt money" from other convinced solutionists, but existing and potential new investors require full and frank disclosure and that is best done in a separate vehicle.

Meanwhile: I'm convinced that the money would bring a much greater return if directed at non-manned probes and research. Non-manned probes do at least have a chance of getting to the near relativistic speeds needed to find another solar system just in case this one fails. If the Earth isn't safe, then neither is that frozen dustball Mars.

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Fuel on Mars

0/10 - Turn in your copy of "The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" immediately!

Hell no, clearly he still has to read it!

:)

4
0
Silver badge

Re: Fuel on Mars

And, assuming a) my faith is misplaced and b) something nasty this way comes, leaving earth is the only way for humanity to survive.

This is seductive but flawed logic. Going to Mars is really still a 19th century fantasy.

Anything big enough to take out the Earth will probably take out Mars as well. Or, anyone crazy and powerful enough to destroy the Earth is probably crazy and powerful enough to take out Mars as well. Mars is pretty inhospitable and all the space between here and there is inimical to life.

For interstellar travel moons and asteroids are far more interesting: lots of resources without all that pesky gravity to deal with. This is why real scientists are keen on comets and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Because, by the time the first unmanned probe confirms the existence of habitable planets we'll need to be somewhere where we can build spaceships big and safe enough for the travel. They may make for less attractive headlines but Cassini and Huygens and Rosetta and Philae delivered far more knowledge bang for the buck than a manned Mars mission ever could.

0
5
Silver badge

Re: Fuel on Mars

> Non-manned probes do at least have a chance of getting to the near relativistic speeds needed to find another solar system just in case this one fails.

Eh? So, the probe would find a cosy new star system, bully for the probe. What use is that if no humans can get there?

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Fuel on Mars

@Charlie Clark,

"Anything big enough to take out the Earth will probably take out Mars as well."

Well, if you're talking about an asteroid or something it would have to be between the size of Neptune and half the diameter of the sun. So reasonably big. Unusually big.

2
0
Bronze badge

Re: Fuel on Mars

I'm sure someone will come along and mention that giant wandering planet that everyone keeps speculating about soon...

1
0
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Fuel on Mars

Non-manned probes do at least have a chance of getting to the near relativistic speeds needed to find another solar system just in case this one fails.

What do you mean by "near relativistic speeds"?

Do you have any inkling of what a grain of dust will do at 186,000mph? What a single molecule would do at twice that speed? And note this is MPH, still a very long way from "relativistic speeds".

It takes light 4 years to travel from our 2nd nearest star1 to Earth. a ship would take 8 years at 1/2 that. At the speed I mentioned above it would take 14,400 years, unless I've messed up my math of am wrong in my calc on SOL (186,000 miles per second isn't it?) (4x3,600 - 1second being 1: 3,600th of an hour)

Something else to consider at those speeds as well. How many hits from particles would you get? Now, you travel at 30,000MPH in space you probably would hit very few particles. But as you increase the speed, you get more hits - and each hit does much more damage due to the increased mass of the particle at impact. You couldn't manoeuvre your craft at those speeds, without some special jiggery-trekery your own mass would be greater that earth (if my quick in-head calcs are anything to go by, I could be off be a factor of thousands!), maybe greater than that of the sun.

Until we can get some form of warp/hyperspace technology, much of this stuff is not worthwhile. Especailly when the probe has little chance of reporting home to anyone (look at how fast data/storage formats change), and much much less chance of us finding a way to get to wherever the probe suggests (think for a start on how much stuff in space actually moves - Scorpio appears to be a fixed pattern in the night sky but I know those stars have moved vast distances since I first recognised it in 1984). How do you correct the course of a bus-sized object with an earth-sized mass?

1 You forgot that the sun is our nearest star, didn't you? :)

0
0
Silver badge
Boffin

Re: Fuel on Mars

This is seductive but flawed logic. Going to Mars is really still a 19th century fantasy.

Anything big enough to take out the Earth will probably take out Mars as well.

Oh? So a small comet on an orbit that causes it to collide with earth. Something a few miles across (lets be exceedingly generous and say it's spherical with a diameter of 100 miles). That's far far more than enough to destroy all life on earth, probably make the entire crust molten, the atmosphere would be burnt and filled with various combustion by-products, the molten material from the collision etc; basically non-existent, and, the oceans would of course be vapour (maybe even closer to plasma, along with the atmosphere?) . All life would be gone within a few seconds, maybe a few minutes.

Such an object, even if it was travelling in a perfect line to collide with mars, would unlikely have the mass to reach there. Given the difference in orbital distance, anything ejected from earth in such an event probably would not reach Mars in a state enough to do real damage. Even if the velocities would be enough, the odds of something impacting Earth and continuing on to reach Mars are pretty low. Any one care to do the math? Even though 1 in a million shots come out 9 times in 10, this has much much less chance of happening.

Short of a nova, or maybe Jupiter and Saturn somehow becoming very attracted to each other, there is nothing likely to be a threat to both Earth and Mars. Not totally impossible, but we;re looking at a combination of size, speed, direction of travel and even point of impact (hitting earth in one place will give a different exit direction to hitting it in another place). Not impossible but high enough odds I doubt it would occur before humanity is already gone, or we've found a way to reach other inhabitable solar systems in a single lifetime.

It doesn't take much of an asteroid to wipe out life on earth. IIRC a few miles across is enough, ie many comets etc. One big enough to have ejecta reach Mars as well? That's a very different story.

As to rocks for start travel. Do the maths, not the fantasy. An asteroid may be travelling at several 10's of thousands of KPH, but it is still very slow when it comes to interstellar speeds. According to newatlas.com (1st google result) the fastest asteroid on record is 64,000 mph, and comet ISON was believe to have reached 838,890Mph (375km/s, hoping my math is right). New Horizons is travelling at a mere 36,373 MPH. If travelling towards Alpha Centauri, it would only take 78,000 years or so to reach there. That's just to Alpha Centauri. Course there's "Breakthrough Starshot", which may or may not succeed - and NASA are working on some forms of "warp" technology, so it's not hopeless. But we need a lot more than either of these to effectively explore.

However, getting to Mars and getting a backup system is a good start. Being able to live on Mars for a while gives us knowledge about the tech needed to live in space long-term. Earth and even earth orbit are relatively safe places, we need to escape the protection of earth long-term to find out how to live in the reality of space long-term.

0
0
Silver badge
Alien

Re: Fuel on Mars

I'm sure someone will come along and mention that giant wandering planet that everyone keeps speculating about soon...

You mean that one that is going to hit in Dec 2012 er May 2013 er June 2013 no sorry November 2013 sorry March 2014 no it's definitely October 2014 ok maybe June 21 2015 no sorry December 21 2015 ok sometime 2016 ok sometime in the next trillion years so you all better be scared OK?

Had fun explaining compound lenses and reflection/refraction to a guy who wondered why you could see it on the smartphone screen when you pointed the phone's camera at the sun, but you couldn't see it with the naked eye. Some people are so gullible, and place way too much trust in "this scientist on youtube".

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Fuel on Mars

Oh? So a small comet on an orbit that causes it to collide with earth.

I'm not the one making an argument for leaving Earth because a "VUE" might wipe out life on Earth. This really is a straw man. I'm not suggesting that the same object would hit both Mars and the Earth but if the Earth is being hit by large asteroids then Mars probably is at the same time. For example if Jupiter stopped doing such a good job of hoovering up dangerous rocks that enter the solar system.

As to rocks for start travel. Do the maths, not the fantasy.

You seem to misunderstand me: build the spaceships on and from the asteroids. No gravity well to worry about. Still all the problems related to large-scale manufacturing in space, life-support systems, travelling safely at high speeds (a reasonable fraction of c), etc., but easier than doing it on Earth or Mars,

0
1

Re: Fuel on Mars

Surprised that no-one has commented that this is simply a publication of the talk he did a year ago, so nothing new in it.

As for other points...

The Moon requires more Dv than going to Mars, so is actually harder to get to (and by get to I mean land on) and get back from.

This isn't fraud as some conspiracy theorist said above - Musk is currently revolutionising the Space launch business, and his company is almost certainly going to have something on Mars within 10 years. Might even be ITS, but will certainly be a Red Dragon.

Everything complained about above has been discussed ad nauseam elsewhere already. And in fact Musk is planning a new talk within a few months to go over version 2 of the plan.

0
1

1m asses to mars

surely?

8
0
Bronze badge

Forgive me, but isn't this just the plan that he presented last year? I'm fairly sure all the details here including those concept drawings of the rocket have been available since that talk.

I did hear that there was going to be some Musk Mars this week, but I was under the impression that I this week's news was supposed to be an update on how he would get the funding worked out for getting people to Mars.

8
0
Silver badge
Coat

Just build a rocket that can be split in two...

A large version that transports humans+cargo to mars and a smaller one that is capable of transporting humans back to earth...

The larger part can stay behing on mars and can be used for building materials to create housing etc...

2
0

Old news

Note this is just a write-up of the presentation Elon Musk gave at IAC in September last year. He has recently announced a follow-up is imminent and will focus more on paying for the project.

Progress has been made, the carbon fibre tank featured in the presentation has since been tested to destruction. It's not clear if the destruction was intended, but that's why you test such things.

9
0
Silver badge

Re: Old news

Destructive Testing of pressure vessels is fairly routine, so I imagine it was deliberate. If nothing else, the difference between the predicted failure point and the actual one is informative.

5
0
Alert

Sounds Crazy...

Musk says a lot of crazy things.

The problem is, quite a lot of them turn into reality.

It is hard to know when the crazy-sounding things are going to end up working!

12
1
Silver badge
Trollface

Plan details how to get 1m humans to Mars

...wait - you want to populate Mars with small kids?!? You bastards!!!

13
1
Silver badge

Re: Plan details how to get 1m humans to Mars

1M-tall humans usually weigh less than 2M-tall humans, thus saving on fuel (and bed linen)!

10
0
Silver badge

Re: Plan details how to get 1m humans to Mars

And the 1m humans are easy enough to catch and tender enough to be a good food source for when it all goes horribly, horribly wrong.

12
0
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Plan details how to get 1m humans to Mars

oh you mean he wasn't trying to promote a race of "little green men"?

either that or just send a lot of people below average height, perhaps from the set of the latest 'Oz' film.

/me grabs coat

2
1
Silver badge

Re: Plan details how to get 1m humans to Mars

1M-tall humans usually weigh less than 2M-tall humans, thus saving on fuel (and bed linen)!

I dunno about that.. Going by one of my family members, back when he was 1M tall he went through a hell of a lot of bed linen!

2
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Plan details how to get 1m humans to Mars

you want to populate Mars with small kids?!?

Well, yes, because when they're large they're called adults (except when they're called Donald Trump) so small kids it is.

1
0
Bronze badge
Mushroom

Re: Plan details how to get 1m humans to Mars

RE: Kids on Mars. They can't be bigger than Marvin. He has a height complex and an illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator. PP

0
0
Silver badge
Alien

So many flaws

Sending "ships" back is stupid. Better and cheaper to make more and use them as ready-to-use materials at destination.

However the very idea is arrogant, elitist, unpractical.

We need to make fairer (the USA, less than 13% of world population, consume 75% resources) and better use of this planet rather than trying to colonise a totally unsuitable one, with an elite of less than 0.0001%, probably more likely 0.0000001% of people.

4
27

Re: So many flaws

>We need to make fairer (the USA, less than 13% of world population, consume 75% resources) and better use of this planet rather than trying to colonise a totally unsuitable one, with an elite of less than 0.0001%, probably more likely 0.0000001% of people.<

There's no reason to believe that these people will be the 'elite'; they'd be giving up very comfortable conditions on Earth for a lifetime of hardship, after all. But the point you're missing is that Musk is talking about protection against an extinction-level event; massive asteroid impact, global nuclear war, or whatever. No matter how nice you make Earth before such an event, it doesn't help; the only chance of survival is simply not being there.

But that does assume that the Mars colony reaches a point where they're no longer reliant on resupply from Earth, of course...

15
0
Silver badge

Re: So many flaws

> However the very idea is arrogant, elitist, unpractical. We need to make fairer (the USA, less than 13% of world population, consume 75% resources) and better use of this planet

We could do that (and indeed Musk puts effort into reducing the resource and environmental cost of terrestrial transport - Tesla, Gigafactory for batteries, and Hyperloop). But it'll be for nowt if a huge damned asteroid hits our planet.

7
1
Silver badge

Re: So many flaws

(the USA, less than 13% of world population, consume 75% resources)

The USA has 4% of the global population and uses 25% of current global resource production.

Please, if you're going to make stupid arguments at least attempt to get some simple facts right.

17
0
Bronze badge

Re: So many flaws

And if a bloody great space rock hits your "fairer" Earth? If the human race didn't expand to other planets in the Solar System it would stand a chance of becoming extinct at that point.

2
1
Orv
Silver badge

Re: So many flaws

My guess is with the money we'd spend on this scheme, to save a tiny fraction of the population, we could build a system to detect and deflect asteroids that would save all of it.

That's the problem with these schemes. By plowing money into going to Mars instead of averting global catastrophe, you're implicitly saying six billion people's lives are expendable as long as a few thousand survive somewhere else.

2
1
Silver badge

Re: So many flaws

My guess is with the money we'd spend on this scheme, to save a tiny fraction of the population, we could build a system to detect and deflect asteroids that would save all of it.

Surely some of the technologies would be the same though? To be able to divert an asteroid we need to get the tools to it in time, and reliably so.

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Sending "ships" back is stupid.

The ships are horribly expensive. They have to be, to be large enough for the job. However, they are reusable, so the cost of bringing them back is essentially the cost of the fuel. Hence it is much cheaper to bring them back than to leave them there.

It also means the people sent to Mars don't have to die there. It can be a return trip. That will encourage more people to go.

0
0

Be careful what you wish for

No one would have believed in the last years of the 21st century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.

14
0

Re: Be careful what you wish for

"Weeeooooo weeeooooo", cue Richard Burton.

7
0

Re: Be careful what you wish for

What hogwash!

The chances of anything coming from Mars, are a million to one, I say!

14
0

Re: Be careful what you wish for

But everyone knows that million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten.

9
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Be careful what you wish for

But everyone knows that million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten.

I love your take on statistics :)

0
0
JRW

One Way Trip

The trip there would mess people up enough. The return trip would likely finish them off. It makes no sense to bring the ship or people back - the resources involved would be massive. If we were to ever colonise Mars it only makes sense as a one way trip.

4
3
Silver badge

Re: One Way Trip

The trip there would mess people up enough.

How/Why?

3
0
Silver badge

Re: One Way Trip

Radiation on a trip to Mars (outside of the Earth's magnetic influence which largely protects astronauts in Earth orbit) is likely to do you some damage, in addition to known effects of living in micro gravity. The trouble with shielding is that it is heavy. However, the scaling laws that govern surface area (your shielding facing the sun, a square power) against volume (where the crew reside, a cube power) mean that bigger ships with more crew would be best.

Potentially, shielding could be the drinking water for (and later, waste products of) the crew. Some very early research has also been done in generating artificial magnetic shields - though I stress *very early*.

1
0

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017