Defying nearly all odds for a human with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Stephen Hawking lived an amazing and productive life for 55 years after the initial diagnosis wherein he was given only a handful of years to survive. He became a household name for both lofty intellectuals and folks with even a passing interest in science, and shared his insights and passion with us fortunate souls as the world sped up around him.
In recent years one of his most vocal positions was that humanity absolutely must become a multi-planetary species, or face certain extinction from any one of a number of possible events: nuclear war, violent climate change, unexpected asteroids, or a sudden willful descent into the plot of Idiocracy. Not keeping all of the eggs in one basket is a good, pragmatic approach to nearly any endeavor, and the preservation of the human race should be paramount among them. Over the years, as we crested the milestone of the year 2000, and now find ourselves well into that century, he became increasingly frustrated at the lack of apparent interest or progress in returning humanity to the stars.
As we report on Mars Gazette with great fervor, the recent Falcon Heavy launch by SpaceX is, without doubt, the most purposeful, solidly executed and clearly stated step yet taken by mankind to honestly pursue and achieve that goal of human settlement offworld. I, as many others, mourn Dr. Hawking’s passing, though wonder if it may have been somewhat eased by this amazing scientific and social achievement. After so many decades of pain, tenacity and the stiffest of all British upper-lips, he managed to live long enough to see that step taken. He knew that he had fought long enough to see humanity finally achieve that next phase of our collective evolution, sometimes in spite of ourselves, and that the cause he had championed as one of his main projects in his twilight years would now be carried to completion. He could finally rest, knowing that humanity would carry on.
Another new article for your consideration, with expanded interview coverage of Elon Musk’s discussion at SXSW last weekend. In it he expands further on his goal for sending the Tesla roadster into space, and it’s every ounce as wonderful and selfless as I expected. I am still astonished at the ability for naysayers, especially those in the scientific community, to continue to devise areas of complaint about any aspect of his work. I can attribute it only to the most tragic of sour grapes, exposing a great degree of hypocrisy and infighting in the scientific community. It is fortunate that once in a generation a visionary may emerge, and be able to secure the resources needed to drive towards a great goal with singleness of purpose.
“Life cannot just be about solving one sad problem after another…There need to be things that inspire you, that make you glad to wake up in the morning and be part of humanity. That is why we did it. We did for you.”
The Westworld team, and everyone’s favorite savior of mankind Elon Musk have released a beautiful short video commemorating the incredible and wildly successful Falcon Heavy launch on February 6th 2018. It is most definitely worth a watch, and there is even a short clip of the center booster missing the OCISLU drone ship, which is transparency we can all appreciate. No matter how often I replay the events of that launch in my head, it remains amazing and so very important.
One of the hesitations to considering life on other worlds, for many, will be how to cope with the truly unsettling experience of leaving behind everything you know in exchange for an alien landscape. Well, our nearby neighbor may be more welcoming than many realize, if only you take the time to appreciate the little things. Take, for example, the new beautiful image from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter which appears to show a familiar process of frost heaves, which has led to boulders being forced to the surface.
So, now you can have a blue sunset, frost heaves, and a giant statue of Elon Musk in the town square. What more can you ask for.
(Quartz Media LLC)
Any day where I can wake up and watch a successful rocket launch that took place earlier that morning delights me by proving we, as a people, are doing at least one thing right. This was the historic 50th Falcon 9 launch by SpaceX and Elon Musk (founder, CEO, lead designer, savior of mankind) and as we have already grown to expect, it went off without a hitch.
Unfortunately storm conditions and very high seas prevented everyone’s favorite drone ship, the “Of Course I Still Love You” from retrieving the first stage, which had to be abandoned to the sea. However, the mission was a success, and Hispasat 30W-6 was placed into geosynchronous transfer orbit, there to provide telecommunication services to areas around the globe.
Please check out the excellent article over at newatlas.com for more details!
The moon will have a 4G mobile network installed next year, according to plans set out by Vodafone and Nokia.
The mission, organised by space exploration company PTScientists, will be the first privately funded moon landing.
Nokia masts will be launched on a SpaceX rocket in 2019 from Cape Canaveral air force station in Florida.
The network will enable Audi lunar exploration vehicles to communicate with each other and with a base station. The 4G signal, provided by Vodafone, will also be able to transmit high-definition video streaming of the moon’s surface.
This ambitious and exciting project is scheduled for 50 years after NASA first accomplished getting humans to the lunar surface!
(Australian Financial Review)
“The UAE hopes to become the first Arab state to send a mission to the red planet, by designing, developing, manufacturing and eventually controlling a probe. The country doesn’t have its own rocket technology so it will have to rely on companies such as Mitsubishi (MSBHY) or Musk’s SpaceX to carry the payload into space.”
Exciting to see Dubai and the UAE throwing their support into the ring. They are people who understand the important places to spend effort and capital, and have correctly identified this as the next big thing!
“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.