Colonization of Mars Elon Musk: new details this Friday
This Friday, as part of the meeting of the International Congress of Astronautics, the meeting which will be held in the Australian city of Adelaide, the CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk is going to make a presentation and introduce the big "update" with regards to his ideas of colonization of Mars. At this meeting, he was going to share new details of the plan, which he told to IAC conference, held in Mexico last year, where he said about wanting to send on the Martian surface, several thousand people. At the same time the conversation is more likely to go on how to implement the plan into reality.
Currently Musk only hinted about some things that he will speak at the presentation at the end of this week. And apparently, we can expect the announcement of a new and more compact launcher, as well as details about how he was going to get the funds for its development. Moreover, Elon said he is waiting for us a few surprises with regards to how this booster can be used.
The central figures in terms of colonization of Mars is a huge rocket and spacecraft, called "Interplanetary Transport System" (Interplanetary Transport System, ITS), which will be used to transport people to Mars, as well as for returning them back to Earth. But Musk has repeatedly hinted that he was going to introduce a new and more compact version of the "Interplanetary Transport System", which, in his opinion, would be much more practical to use.
The current version of the ITS, introduced last year, is a carrier rocket capable of lifting to your board up to 100 colonists. It is assumed that the missile will be reusable, and its main part will produce a soft landing, as well as the main stage of the carrier rocket Falcon 9. At the same time ship (residential) part will remain in orbit and wait for a new start, in which it will be delivered the fuel needed for the flight to Mars. Such a design involves the creation of a really big rocket. The height of the carrier combined with the spacecraft will be more than 121 meters, making it above the rocket "Saturn-5" space agency NASA, vozivshey astronauts to the moon. Furthermore, ITS diameter will be equal to about 12 meters, and the main stage will be used as much as 42 of the engine. In this case, the ITS risks becoming the biggest ever to develop missiles. This size - it is one of the reasons that Musk once called her BFR (Big Fucking Rocket, "Big fucking rocket"). As for the more compact version, it is likely to be somewhat narrower and lower. And probably with fewer engines than the original design suggests.
This will make the "Interplanetary transport system" more practical.
"When you reduce something on the scale, then you have more opportunities to use" - said Bobby Brown, an aerospace engineer, and Dean of College of Engineering at the University of Colorado, the portal The Verge.
For example, the carrier rocket "Saturn 5" was designed with only one purpose - to deliver people to the moon. But more compact boosters such as the company's Falcon 9 SpaceX or "Atlas 5" Alliance United Launch Alliance, can be used for a wider range of space missions, ranging from satellite launches to delivery of the payload on the International Space Station. In a more compact version of the ITS missiles will be more room for application, in addition to sending humans to Mars. On his page on Instagram Musk even he noted that "certain aspects of the new design and use will be very unexpected."
must be added for the sake of clarity, that the missile will remain high.
"It's bigger than anything existing today", - adds Brown.
"That is a rocket, which was originally to be a giant, it decided to slightly reduce in size and make a big."
More compact and versatile design will allow to solve another problem that gets in the way of an ambitious plan Mask - accessibility. One of the criticisms that sound in the direction of mask ideas associated with how it looks unrealistic in terms of cost of development and vremyazatrat. SpaceX is known for its cheaper than its competitors boosters, but the development and construction of the giant rocket ITS level is likely to cost several billion dollars. Despite this, Musk and SpaceX said they will be ready to send the first colonists to Mars in 2024. And this despite the fact that the company is ready to invest only 5 percent of the total cost of the project.
Reducing the size of ITS definitely reduce the cost of development, as well as more compact missiles dolgoplanovoy term can actually be cheaper than creating large. And the more orders for its use, according to Brown, the more effective and cheaper will be its production over time. In the end, after all ITS can not only take people to Mars, but also be used for other projects, including commercial.
"Small rockets fly more often, therefore, and customers should be more," - said Brown, adding that as a result of this approach can fully recoup the cost of its development.
Mask seems to think in the same direction:
"The key issue for you, perhaps, is - where to find the money on her?" - he said at the annual conference on research and development at the International Space Station, which was held in Washington in July.
"If we reduce the size of the rocket, which will be used for the flight to Mars, making it more suitable for use in near-Earth space missions, the money for it, we can get with these near-Earth space missions."
Maybe the moon?
Another option to solve the money issue for the mask, of course, is - simply ask for support from the government. It is likely that this issue will be another topic of discussion this Friday.
Musk has long dreamed of Mars, believing that mankind must finally gather strength and go directly to the Red Planet, without spending time and money to build the first colony on the moon first. However, in recent months, chief executive of SpaceX, it seems, to some extent shifted its priorities. In February of SpaceX announced plans to send two tourists on a trip around the moon sometime in 2018. Then in July, Musk said during a conference ISS R & D that the permanent human presence on the moon was one of the categorical objectives space program "Apollo".
"To really get people's attention, we need to build a base on the Moon" - said Musk at that meeting.
These changes in the mind, may be associated with the political shifts that are taking place in the country. During NASA Obama administration was serious about the "journey to Mars" and human landing on the Red Planet. But after last year's election of a new president of the prerequisites under which the new administration of President Trump can change the course of space exploration and turn it in the direction of the moon. The US space agency already has a plan to build the lunar orbital space station "Deep Space Gateway". The US vice-president Mike Pence said at a speech at the Kennedy Space Center, that "the nation is ready to return to the moon", however, did not specify exactly when this will happen. There should also be mentioned, and the words of Scott Pace, executive director of the newly formed Space Administration as saying that the rejection of the exploration of the moon during the Obama administration was a real mistake for NASA. While this is only a suggestion, but maybe this Friday Musk tells how his rocket ITS can be used for lunar satellite launch, which could attract the attention of NASA and agency force to support him. Last year, Musk has already pointed out how important it is for financial support from the state for the development of ITS, but it was at a time when the agency was focused entirely on Mars. If Trump administration indicates NASA return to the moon program, then the mask will come the most opportune moment to try to get this support, stating in his speech, and the desire to go to the moon.
"It is in the last year hinted that it may need government funding, what we ourselves have guessed", - commented on the portal The Verge Brian Wyden, a space expert and program director of Secure World Foundation.
"There are prerequisites to the fact that NASA can change its political course towards the moon, throwing on Mars plans. And the difficulty is that it is not clear whether in this respect the place for Ilona and SpaceX ".
It is important to note that not only NASA wants to go back to the moon. The space agencies of Europe, Russia and China - are all interested in the lunar missions and the construction of permanent bases there. And if it does not talk about private companies such as Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance, and many others, have similar plans.
It is still very much unknown about the plans Mask on Mars. For example, how people will be able to survive on the Red Planet. until he reluctantly commented on these issues, as well as talks about how Martian colony might look and what it will offer in the life-support system to use it.
"I think the important issue here is the fact that they will do if actually got there," - says Wieden.
It is possible that the answers to these and other questions we do not know this week. Musk himself boldly he said last year that he was more interested in the fact that people will be able to get to Mars, and to a lesser extent the technologies that are needed to keep these people their lives.
"The challenge for SpaceX is the creation of an efficient transport system. It's like building Union-Pacific Railroad (the largest US rail network - Ed.). "- then said the founder of SpaceX.
"As soon as this transport system will be set up at anyone wanting to go to Mars and to create something new out there, lay the foundation of a new society, will have such an opportunity."
For more information about what we expect, we will, of course, can not wait until Friday. So let's be patient.