SpaceX - The Quest For Mars


Billionaires at war: ‘Disappointed’ Mark Zuckerberg hits out at SpaceX after Facebook’s $200m satellite explodes but Elon Musk says the cause is ‘unknown’ as his fortune drops $390m in one day - -> … place.html

I wonder if he had insurance


Musk or SpaceX, AFAIK almost every launch is insured, the problem here is its wasn’t a launch it was a static test fire a few days before the launch, who knows if thats covered under the terms and condititions


For those of you following this story Elon Musk is due to announce the details of what has been formally known as the BFR (Big Flying?? Rocket) or MCT (Mars Colonial Transporter) now called the very unsexy Interplanetary Transport System (ITS). See Tweet

He is due to do the long-awaited “big reveal” on Tuesday 27th at 19:30-20:30 (Irish Time) at the International Astronautical Congress IAC in Guadalajara Mexico.

I will be there to hear it in person, Yay (I’m such a nerd). But if you can’t make the event in person the presentation and all of the other very interesting talks will be live streamed here: … mute=false

This is a BIG announcement. It is speculated that aside from presenting the architecture that will be used to colonise and establish a city on Mars this ITS will be capable of landing 100’s of tonnes on other bodies including Titan, Ceres, The moon and possibly Venus hence the name change to Interplanetary Transport System.

Exciting times 8DD


Lucky you TI, enjoy the trip

A few days ago Bezos and Blue Origin also released details of their new rocket, which they are calling New Glenn, it looks to be more powerful than the Falcon Heavy and they are also working on a much bigger rocket called the New Armstrong, which may end up being bigger than the BFR :open_mouth:

As you say exciting times ahead


Does Ireland have an extradition treaty with Mexico? Asking for a friend.


Mantissa, no, not to my knowledge. There is a treaty with Great Britain and Ireland from 1886 but I would expect that would not apply to the Republic of Ireland following independence. I spend allot of time in Mexico and can ask some legal buddies if it is important.

Terra - while in Guadalajara, you should look-up a couple of great restaurants run by an Irishman, Darren Walsh, very talented chef. 2 of the best restaurants in town.
Lula Bistro



The Revenue will always catch you in the end.


@jabar thanks for the tip I’ll definitely look them up.

@Matissa & @mr_anderson … you guys!!!


Drum roll please …

This is a placeholder for the live stream of the presentation. Tuesday 27th 19:30 Irish Time.


Let’s hope some of this is realisable in the medium term. Meanwhile, the ESA believes we should build a base on the Moon, as a precursor to attempts to establish a base on Mars (or elsewhere). … -thinks-so


Just Bumping this thread in advance of the big reveal, and I will be in the room!!

It’s a pretty amazing conference.

Buzz Aldrin is here and a load of other space luminaries. On my flight on the way down, I sat beside the lead scientist for the Laser and Mass spectrometer package on the Curiosity Mars Rover. He was delighted to meet a fellow nerd and we had a great chat about Mars volatiles, dust radiation, orbits how the rover actually operates and the constraints. Eg they operate the mass Spectrometer at night because it is power hungry and generates a lot of heat this keeps the Rover warm throughout the night. That said the whole thing operates off just a 110w Plutonium battery. He even took me through his presentation with loads of cool pics of Mars. I feel like I’m 14 again. He is speaking on Friday.

Loads of interesting parallel sessions but we are all waiting for the big one at 13:30 (19:30) Irish Time.

Do tune in, I’ll give the pin a wave


Obviously you’ll be wearing a green jersey?


Enjoy, but keep both hands where we can see them…


Twenty minutes of SpaceX logo so far, and poor Kraftwerk-alike musak.

The crowd will be looking for their money back!

EDIT: 25 minutes. They better be about to announce that Musk has been kidnapped by aliens. :neutral_face:


I’d like to say it was worth waiting for, but it really wasn’t, imho. I don’t think I’ve seen Musk sound so unconfident before. I don’t think he revealed a whole lot we hadn’t heard before. I think the audience – at least those who asked questions – were Grade A whackjobs. (I trust none of them was you, TI).

Basically, I think Musk has pulled off a stunning achievement with SpaceX so far, but the Mars idea is still completely batty. Nobody’s going to continue his sixty year project after he kills himself on Mars. A couple of ships lost with all hands will remind the travelling public how insanely hostile both space and the Martian surface are. Whatever planet-wide catastrophes Musk imagines might befall the earth are probably more likely on Mars. To survive the eventual end of our solar system we will have to travel to the stars, which is not made any easier by this effort. (I suspect interstellar travel may well be impossible forever).

In short, I’m still a cynic. Plus, I bemoan the idea of spending money on this sort of escapism when there are much cheaper unmanned ways to advance science. I like Musk but I think he may be a very rich idealist running out of ideals (and ideas) to spend his money on. I’d be happy to be proved wrong, like the people who told Columbus he was nuts.


Interstellar could well be possible even if we have to brute force it with nuclear pulse engines and if we ever manage hibernation it could help (wasn’t something like it done on dogs?) or alternatively we could use generational ships and or robot caretaker ships to grow people (how long can eggs and sperm last in cold storage?).

It would be cool to see us starting to use probes powered to last a hundred or several hundred years with RTGs (I`ve read that a thousand years or more is possible). The Voyager probes would be awesome if we could maintain communication for 1,000 years (could we? what size satellite dish/transmitter would we need or could a laser or several lasers do the job for that long?)


I’ll post later, just getting over meeting Buzz Aldrin.


Must’ve been some buzz! :smiley:




It’s been a pretty “Everything is Awsome” sort of day…

The conference is super, like one of those conferences you went to early in training where every ting seemed cool and you were only annoyed that you couldn’t attend all of the parallel sessions at the same time for fear of missing out.

Had a really interesting talk from the head of Blue Origin and some nice video from their rocket. The plan to do a Max Q in-flight abort test (deliberately jettison the capsule during the launch) to test the launch abort system. He used a nice phrase about the New Shepard rocket which will be on it’s 5th flight that it had a"non-Zero" chance of surviving. I’m going to add that to my bedside manner when explaining risk!

“well Ms Murphy, you have a non-zero chance of this complication”

The intend to live stream it and its due to happen in about a week:

Go Jeff Besos & Amazon! 8DD

After that, there was a rather Orwellian scary talk from the CEO of “Planet”

I had no idea about this, but they have a constellation of satellites in a Sun-synchronous orbit (they are always overhead at midday)
They image the entire Earth once each week to a resolution of 1 pixel per 3 square meters. This data is all stored and you can look at time lines of any bit of the Earth at any time since they started for ever more. Yes you can see who’s car was parked at your house forever more (at midday, once a week) they are adding 100 more satellites to the constellation and will continually improve resolution and expand the timeline to morning and afternoon for the whole fucking planet!!! oh and the aim is to do daily updates!!!

Anyone can buy access to view the images. Any good image recognition software can slice and dice this data. He demonstrated the easy to use user interface. kind of a google earth but almost live. their aim is to within a few years move to daily updates. This scary tec is already there :open_mouth:

Then there was Musk’s talk at 13:30 I joined the que at 11:50, they had the doors locked and guarded. it was like a rock concert but with an eclectic mix of individuals. I was huddled with a venture capitalist for space start ups and a couple form the UK working in the states for Amazon and Snap chat. It was fun, there was a buz of excitement in the air, Bill Nye and a few other Space Celebs were a few a head of me. The doors opened at 13:50 I had qued for 2 hours for a lecture! it was pandemonium and I had to sprint to get my seat at the front of the hall.

I found the talk very revealing. @PS200306 lots of new info was added and has ended a lot of speculation. There are many impressive things:

  1. It’s very big with an ability to land 450 tonnes on Mars. (Curiosity is currently the record holder for mass on Mars at 0.9 tonnes)
  2. It’s a Bionic ie it uses a lifting body to slow down like the shuttle.
  3. The system is entirely reusable
  4. Its fuel rich ie its refuelled in orbit
  5. It’s got a HUGE window. That comes at a big mass penalty but the views must be amazing
  6. It’s got 42 engines!!! FFS 42 Engines!!! on the booster alone
  7. The Spaceship has engines with different nozzle sizes optimised for vacuum and atmospheres on Mars and Earth
  8. It’s got very very big landing feet, presumably, so it can land on unprepared surfaces
  9. The cost per ticket is projected to be around $140,000!!
  10. The big surprise was the Carbon Fibre O2 tank. That is much more developed than anyone even speculated

The Q&A was a mess, I was right beside the mike and considered asking about the launch abort, landing site restrictions etc but the organisers had allowed a $20 (€1) day pass for the conference and some idiots were let in. the press questions were ok but the q’s from the floor were and embarrassment, I was so pissed off I nearly dragged one of them from the mike.

Then it was all over.

I attended one of the smaller technical sessions upstairs on “Human exploration of Mars”. It was like stepping back 50 years into the 70’s with speaker after speaker talking about and advocating a sort of Lego system of bits of spaceship stuck together so that by 2038 they could get 6 astronauts orbiting Mars, It was depressing, even the French lead of the Mars Society was advocating sending 2 Astronauts to the surface to save on fuel and aerobraking.

It was hard to listen too because each person speaking was only looking at one piece of the puzzle and trying to solve it on its own. None of them built engines or rockets nor ran a production company. None appeared to be thinking about cost at all.

Then the final straw for me came when an Italian got up to talk about using cyclers to solve the fuel problem (which Musk had just solved downstairs with a really simple solution) her first slide showed that it required an architecture of over 7 different vehicle types / technologies and all of this would be placing 6 ish people on Mars FFS. This had been advocated by Aldrin for a number of years. It was a small technical session with only about 40 in the room. Then she nodded to the front row and said what an honour it was to have Dr Aldrin here!!!

Then Dr Aldrin got up and talked about cylers. To be honest its a mess of an idea with one selling point (free return) but unlike Musks fuel rich 115-day average transfer window with an aim for a 60-day transfer window, Aldrin is advocating an 1100 day out and back trip! never going to work.

He closed the session I got to ask him a polite question with the mike and I briefly met him at the end.

What an awesome day :smiley: