Lumpy Burgertushie wrote:Well, I don't know if SpaceX will make that goal or not. However, I do know that they are testing rockets all the time. I live about 20 miles away from their testing facility. At least once a week they are firing rockets that sometimes shake the house and drown out the TV.
There was one time last year, before we knew where they were, that they did a big test and we thought maybe a bomb had been dropped. The noise was extremely loud and the glow in the sky lasted for some time. It was about 10 p.m. and the news had nothing about it. Finally about an hour later the TV news came on and told us what it was.
Was really kind of scary at first.
Oh, I'm sure they're doing really interesting stuff. But we need to put this in perspective. More than 40 years ago, NASA landed men on the Moon and brought them back again, alive. This is a far more difficult feat than putting a satellite into orbit or sending a wealthy passenger on a low-orbital joyride: the original Saturn V rocket carried so much high-energy fuel that its chemical potential energy exceeded the yield of the Hiroshima bomb
. And when you think about the sheer difficulty and danger of sending a man to Mars, it makes a Moon trip look like a Sunday drive. The Moon is only 360,000 to 400,000 km away. Mars is between 55 million and 400 million km away, meaning that a trip to Mars is between 140 and 1100 times farther away. Of course, you could point out that you're just coasting the whole way, but the problem is keeping astronauts alive for such a long time, not to mention the incredibly small margin of error when the distances are so great.
But of course, it gets worse: the Moon has a mass of only 7.35E22 kg. Mars has a mass of 6.42E23 kg, meaning that it is nearly nine times more massive than the Moon. This means its gravity is much stronger, which means it is far more difficult to land on Mars and then take off again. They say that flying is easy but landing is the hard part. What they forget is that when you're talking about space travel, even landing is easy compared to the task of escaping the planet's gravity again. You need a lot of fuel to punch your way out of a large gravity well, and it's going to be hard to find fuel on Mars.
Here's a question, would you make that trip to Mars even if you knew it was a one way trip?
I would. I am 60 years old and would go in a heartbeat if I could.
No way. I'm 41 years old, which might seem ancient to some of the people on this forum, but I've still got too much living to do. I still want to see my sons graduate school and get married and have kids of their own. I still want to see Paris and London and St Petersburg. I might risk my life to see the Earth from space, but a Mars shot is beyond risk. It's more like adventure-suicide.