“People will likely travel to Mars sometime in your lifetime. NASA has said it plans to send people to Mars in the 2030s. And the private space company SpaceX may send its first crewed mission to Mars as early as 2024.”
I always love reading things like that, and it fills me with optimism for the future, here on a quiet Thursday night. We are entering an exciting new time for mankind, one which feels like the space race of the 1960s, yet even more far reaching and, for the thoughtful sort, even more urgent. This article is the first in a two part series by Ilima Loomis, and you can almost feel the academics across the world, not to mention the corporate leaders, coming to realize the speed with which we may be called upon to manage a second planet, and the rewards that stand to be had for rising to that challenge.
Watch the perfect and exhilarating liftoff of the Falcon 9 this morning, and (spoiler) flawless deployment of the payload.
This was an older model booster, not capable of landing, so no recovery on this one, but going forward you can bet that is something we will see on nearly all missions. They did, however, try to catch the fairing with Mr. Steven (another spectacular boat name) but missed by a few hundred meters. The good news? The parafoil deployed correctly and slowed descent, and it should be easily recoverable from the water. This represents a $6million savings each time, which is another piece of the puzzle to reducing launch costs and making these missions increasingly affordable and attractive to carry out.
(more details at techcrunch.com)
(spaceref.com) “The planet Mars has fascinated scientists for over a century. Today, it is a frigid desert world with a carbon dioxide atmosphere 100 times thinner than Earth’s.
But evidence suggests that in the early history of our solar system, Mars had an ocean’s worth of water. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will study Mars to learn more about the planet’s transition from wet to dry, and what that means about its past and present habitability.”
It may not be everyone’s idea of an ideal vacation spot currently, but sign me up.
(ars technica) “The primary mission on Wednesday is the launch of the PAZ satellite to low Earth orbit…The Falcon 9 rocket will also carry a second payload of note: two experimental non-geostationary orbit satellites, Microsat-2a and -2b. Those are two satellites that SpaceX has previously said would be used in its first phase of broadband testing as part of an ambitious plan to eventually deliver global satellite Internet. “
Because now Elon Musk is ready to give us global internet. He must have had a few spare minutes before dinner last Thursday!