The Exuberant Ambitions of Elon Musk’s SpaceX Mars Mission Plans are on Hold
SpaceX president, Gwynne Shotwell, has confirmed in a statement the delay of the planned Mars Red Dragon mission plans. Due to launch 2018, other project delays predict to push it to 2020.
Both the Crew program and the Falcon Heavy program are running up to 4 years behind schedule. Key resources are still lacking. The 2 Falcon 9 core boosters are only within the first stage of development, for example.
Musk’s unshakeable optimism has him planning to colonize Mars
This is despite him not being able to provide clues on how humans would survive there. CEO of the Planetary Society, Bill Nye, describes the conditions on Mars to be drastically worse than Antarctica. And of course, it is impossible to breathe there.
So why does SpaceX wish go send a crew to Mars? Musk claims that humans need to become interplanetary in the case of a global extinction event. Why he doesn’t wish to instead work on preventing an extinction event instead, he has never answered.
But before that, there is much else that is supposedly achievable through these planned Mars missions. That is, as soon as SpaceX can actually successfully get there. Missions to Mars are frequently fraught with many difficulties.
Just in October last year, the European Space Agency (ESA) failed in such a mission
Their ExoMars spacecraft, a Schiaparelli lander, smashed into the surface of Mars. Mars’s thin atmosphere creates an engineering nightmare when designing a craft’s ability to land on the surface.
However, SpaceX is as optimistic as always about overcoming this feat. SpaceX engineers are tweaking the supersonic re-propulsion within the Raptor engines to hopefully accommodate this.
SpaceX rockets are groundbreaking in their ability to re-land on both land and at sea. The Falcon 9 reusability adds to a profound cost-effectiveness in their missions.
Nonetheless, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report infuses realism into SpaceX ambitions.
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