On February 6, 2018 one of the most significant events in human history took place with the launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, which sent a Tesla vehicle on a trajectory towards Mars. The low cost and reusability of the Falcon Heavy space shuttle heralds an age of inexpensive space flight and colonization potential. Tuesday’s mission cost $90 million, $15 million less than New York City’s 2018 budget for student physical education.
Mars is nearby and can be reached in a relatively short period of time. Every 1.6 years Earth and Mars reach a point at which their proximity is maximum. During this time the trip might take 260 days or less. It has the kinds of things humans need to survive, like oxygen, water and nitrogen. The Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE) is designed to convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere on Mars into oxygen for fuel and life support. MOXIE will be travelling to Mars on NASA’s 2020 mission. It will be the first oxygen-production plant of its kind to travel to another planet.
Robots can build habitats for humans to live in on Mars and early pioneers can have the essentials needed to begin life on another planet.
It seems inexpensive and easy. So much so, that it would not be surprising to see a colony on Mars ten years from now. SpaceX is a corporation which constructed the rockets used in yesterday’s launch, with $0 from the US or any other government. It’s exciting to see how this innovative technology can help us place useful platforms in space near earth inexpensively, helping improve transportation, exploration, telecommunications, weather monitoring, and potentially, weather control.
With all the horrible weather events which have taken place this last year, it’s a relief to see this brilliant technology move humanity forward, realizing new potential which only moments ago was science fiction. The SpaceX launch heralds a new age where space travel will be a part of many of our lives.
by Linda Kaidan