Key things needed for his vision to succeed are reusable rockets, willing (and wealthy) volunteers, and a collaborating government to foot some of the bill.
“Some money has to be spent on establishing a base on Mars. It’s about getting the basic fundamentals in place,” Musk said. “That was true of the English colonies [in the Americas]; it took a significant expense to get things started. But once there are regular Mars flights, you can get the cost down to half a million dollars for someone to move to Mars. Then I think there are enough people who would buy that to have it be a reasonable business case.”
IO9 has a detailed article with an interview of physicist Harold White, who a few months ago at the 100 year starship symposium, revealed that the energy requirements for an Alcubierre warp drive capable of 2-4 week trip to the closest star system, Alpha Centauri. Here’s a quote I thought was compelling:
“In late 1942, humanity activated the first nuclear reactor in Chicago generating a whopping half Watt — not enough to power a light bulb,” he said. “However, just under one year later, we activated a ~4MW reactor which is enough to power a small town. Existence proof is important.”
Centauri Dreams has published a story detailing some exotic propulsion concepts proposed by the likes of Arthur C. Clarke and Clifford Singer.
We won’t know what it is for a couple of weeks, but I have to imagine it has something to do with finding some evidence of organic compounds or even past life on Mars.
This gigantic planet was directly imaged by astronomers in Hawaii using the Subaru Telescope. I have to imagine that there are some Earth sized moons orbiting this behemoth.
Freeman Dyson came up with some extreme gravitational maneuvers that could accelerate a space vessel to .27c. All we need to do is locate a binary star system made up of two neutron stars. Easy peasy.
Mark your calendars:
Panel topics during the free public symposium include propulsion and power, space debris removal, near-Earth object mitigation, humans in space and on the surface of planets, robotics and space probes, and imaging and communications.
November 14 and 15.
Lets hope things stay on track for near Earth asteroids and beyond.
Looks like there’s a lot more leeway when it comes to evolving multi-cellular life which in turn may result in intelligent life. First-rate analysis.
On a related topic, a study performed by the Royal Astronomical Society suggests that asteroid belts, like the one in our system between Mars and Jupiter, play an essential role in the development of life.
I don’t always agree with Robert Zubrin, but he does make his point with very little beating around the bush.
“In short, if we want to get a sample from Mars, we should devise a plan to get a sample from Mars in the simplest, cheapest, fastest, and most direct fashion possible, and not let the mission be made into a Christmas tree on which to hang all the ornaments in the bureaucracy’s wish box of useless and costly multi-decade delays,” Zubrin concluded.
They have over $140 million in funding, including from Goldman Sachs. An amazing development that bodes well for our insatiable energy appetite.