YouTube SpaceX will get us to Mars

Don’t know if anyone is interested, but I thought this video was pretty interesting. It basically talks about SpaceX’s plans to try and get the cost of taking a single human to Mars (round trip with expendables) to around half a million US dollars. If they can do that, it would be a major break through. According to Musk et al, the Falcon 9 Heavy will be able to get a kilo into orbit for around $6k…that’s less than half the current cost, and a small fraction of what the Space Shuttle cost for the same weight. Anyway, if you have the time and are interested, watch the video.

Musk started SpaceX because he wanted to colonize Mars. Good for the space industry his rockets are bringing the cost of space launches down.

Having the business acumen to make billions of dollars doesn’t mean you aren’t a bit of a whackadoodle though.

Colonize Mars? No, thank you. Bringing launch costs down? Thank you! Please continue to follow your Mars colonization dreams if that’s what it takes!

Well, whether we colonize Mars or not is way down the road. Myself, I just want a manned exploration mission before I shuffle off this mortal coil. And if he really could get the price down to half a million dollars for a human with expendables, even if that was the one way cost, it would make such a mission feasible.

First, you get to Mars.

Then you work on what can be safely cut or reduced to bring the cost down on subsequent trips.

Musk is supposed to announce the details of the much-rumored Mars Colonial Transporter at a conference on September 27. It’s supposedly going to be way bigger than the Saturn V, and it’d have to be to land any kind of serious payload on Mars.

I’m personally skeptical that anything resembling a “colony” will be built in my life time. Optimistically, I think there might be a handful of manned missions paid for mostly by NASA and other space agencies. But after that, I’ve never understood where all the rich colonists will come from – they have to be willing to pay their own ticket and (eventually) die on Mars.

Everyone dies. Are you doing what you want to do until then? Alrighty then.

Musk, and others like him, may well make a Mars mission possible and practical. But a half-million dollars is simply absurd. Unless he’s just talking about the marginal cost per person, but even that would require a heck of a lot of permanent infrastructure, and how much would that cost?

Oh, that would cost a lot more. 10’s or even hundreds of billions I’m sure for a ‘colony’, whatever he envisions for that. But if he could get the launch costs down to a few thousand per kilogram it would make it possible and maybe even practical to send humans to Mars (assuming you could solve a bunch of other issues like the radiation).