Elon Musk estimates 2028 to realize Mars Base Alpha

Elon Musk has tweeted out that he expects the rendered Mars Base Alpha with four BFS beside could be built by 2028.

SpaceX is producing about 5 Merlin engines per week and has the factory capacity for 400 engines per year or about 8 engines per week. The Raptor engines are about the same size as the Merlin engines. The new BFR and BFS design needs 38 Raptor engines. SpaceX should be able to build about six to ten BFRs every year even without building more factory capacity.

The BFR spaceships (second stage) will be reusable, Musk plans on refueling them in low Earth orbit first, and then again on the surface of Mars for their return to Earth.

They will launch several BFRs to transport and assemble a propellant plant and start to build up a base. The propellant plant would produce methane (CH4) and liquid oxygen (O2) from sub-surface water ice and atmospheric CO2.

Assuming the first BFRs are built and flying into orbit by 2023, then the first Mars mission would be in 2024.

Two robotic cargo flights, the first of which may be named Heart of Gold, are planned to be launched in 2024 to deploy a massive array of solar panels, mining equipment. They will also land as well as deliver surface vehicles like bulldozers and trucks to dig and assemble the base. There will be food and life support infrastructure.

In 2026 four more BFR landers will follow: two robotic cargo flights, and two crewed flights will be launched to setup the propellant production plant, solar arrays, landing pads, and greenhouses. Each landed mass will be at least 100 tons of usable payload, in addition to the spaceship’s dry mass of 85 tons.

The first temporary habitats will be their own crewed BFR spaceships, as they have life-support systems.

The robotic BFR cargo flights will be refueled for their return trip to Earth whenever possible.

For a sustainable base, it is proposed that the landing zone be located at less than 40° latitude for best solar power production, relatively warm temperature, and critically: it must be near a massive sub-surface water ice deposit. The quantity and purity of the water ice must be appropriate.

A preliminary study by SpaceX estimates the propellant plant is required to mine water ice and filter its impurities at a rate of 1 ton per day. The system under study is projected to produce 1 kg/day of O2/CH4 propellant while consuming 700 watts of electrical power. Overall unit conversion rate expected is one metric ton of propellant per 17 megawatt-hours energy input from solar power.

The 2026 missions would have to travel to Mars which would take a few months and they could then unload and build up the base.

602 thoughts on “Elon Musk estimates 2028 to realize Mars Base Alpha”

  1. The BFS as now imagined is wasteful. There should be BFRs that lift off, and reenter from earth. BFRs that lift off, and reenter from mars, and BFSs, that lifts off earth once, empty, and then has it’s engines, and much of it’s structure removed, new engines installed that are optimized for maximum ISP, low mass, low thrust, and never descends a planetary gravity well again. Later versions may have electromagnetic sails, plasma dynamic braking, and an ion engine. The rest of it’s operational life is spent going between earth orbit, lunar orbit, mars orbit, Lagrange points, ……. It’s maximum acceleration might be 0.25 gee, with engine redundancy, but it’s lower mass, the engine optimization, and drop-able fuel tanks would significantly decrease length of trips.

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  2. The BFS as now imagined is wasteful. There should be BFRs that lift off and reenter from earth. BFRs that lift off and reenter from mars and BFSs that lifts off earth once empty and then has it’s engines and much of it’s structure removed new engines installed that are optimized for maximum ISP low mass low thrust and never descends a planetary gravity well again. Later versions may have electromagnetic sails plasma dynamic braking and an ion engine.The rest of it’s operational life is spent going between earth orbit lunar orbit mars orbit Lagrange points ……. It’s maximum acceleration might be 0.25 gee with engine redundancy but it’s lower mass the engine optimization and drop-able fuel tanks would significantly decrease length of trips.

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  3. Finding an optimal location for the base is crucial. This means they can’t select position from orbit with current technology. Scouting on the ground will be needed and this can be robotic or manual. Such a mission should be included in the overall plan. It will also delay the project a few years.

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  4. Landing people on Mars and leaving them there till they will be able to make fuel to return? I don’t think so. That is a recipe for a tragedy.

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  5. Finding an optimal location for the base is crucial. This means they can’t select position from orbit with current technology. Scouting on the ground will be needed and this can be robotic or manual. Such a mission should be included in the overall plan. It will also delay the project a few years.

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  6. Landing people on Mars and leaving them there till they will be able to make fuel to return? I don’t think so. That is a recipe for a tragedy.

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  7. The 1 ton propellant production per day, is it in Earth tons or in Mars’? It would probably be a little bit less confusing if they would mesure it in volume instead of weight.

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  8. Well if it were actually going happen by that date they would be hiring everyone, his brother and sister. We could all be a part of it – if it were real. “Nasa estimated that it had taken more than 400,000 engineers, scientists and technicians to accomplish the moon landings – reflecting the vast number of systems and subsystems needed to send men there.

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  9. Why would you need to? Given the low Mars escape velocity and drag on ascent, single-stage to escape isn’t asking that much, compared to Earth.

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  10. The base should include some policemen and medical doctors and nurses in case somebody gets sick or hurt. It would be a shame for a crime to be committed there or somebody to get hurt bad enough to require hospitalization such as fall over something and break a wrist, or need flu shots. Obviously the most healthy will go there. The base would need to make alot of ends meet. They can’t get to there and forget to bring something.

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  11. I keep saying this: SpaceX is attempting to conserve a scarce resource, engineering hours, by using the same craft for multiple purposes. They can come up with optimized craft for each part of the mission when they’ve grown bigger.

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  12. Yeah, I thought the original Zubrin plan had the fuel made before the first manned mission arrives. Still don’t see why that isn’t feasible. I’d build an SPS in Mars orbit, though, and use a rectenna on the ground. We know solar power on Mars is subject to getting blanketed by dust storms. In theory you could build it in Earth orbit, and move it there using its own power to run ion engines.

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  13. Why would you need to? Given the low Mars escape velocity and drag on ascent single-stage to escape isn’t asking that much compared to Earth.

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  14. The base should include some policemen and medical doctors and nurses in case somebody gets sick or hurt. It would be a shame for a crime to be committed there or somebody to get hurt bad enough to require hospitalization such as fall over something and break a wrist or need flu shots. Obviously the most healthy will go there. The base would need to make alot of ends meet. They can’t get to there and forget to bring something.

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  15. I keep saying this: SpaceX is attempting to conserve a scarce resource engineering hours by using the same craft for multiple purposes. They can come up with optimized craft for each part of the mission when they’ve grown bigger.

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  16. Yeah I thought the original Zubrin plan had the fuel made before the first manned mission arrives. Still don’t see why that isn’t feasible.I’d build an SPS in Mars orbit though and use a rectenna on the ground. We know solar power on Mars is subject to getting blanketed by dust storms.In theory you could build it in Earth orbit and move it there using its own power to run ion engines.

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  17. I don’t understand the ‘Ignore the Moon. Go to Mars’ crowd. I would like to see a significant fraction of humanity living off earth in the next few centuries. If Luna & Mars were equally far away, Mars would be the better 1st step, but 3 days to Luna with launch windows every day, vs 6 to 9 months to Mars with launch windows only every 26 months, is an overwhelming advantage for doing Luna 1st. The evidence has been accumulating that there is plenty of water ice on Luna for life support & rocket fuel, so the best argument for Mars 1st has been negated. We should concentrate on industrializing the moon. www(dot)youtube(dot)com/watch?v=bGcvv3683Os

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  18. Indeed, the point is having the option and making sure that those that can and want, are able to do it. Many of us have probably too many ties with Earth to ever make such a big movement, but a few restless ones could. That’s the beauty of a free society with a free market, and one of the main strengths of humans overall.

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  19. Had an interview with a ~72 year old billionaire in July; it was a 3rd interview to be part of his ‘pet’ engineering team for his hobby project, which he insisted “was going to take over the ________ business”. Project has been on the books since 2011 and hasn’t progressed very much. He thinks he is going to do it “lean and mean.” With a heavy heart I turned it down because although I have met many 72 year olds that are “sharp as a tack”, I haven’t met any 82 year olds that fit that description and he is simply not committing the resources necessary to “walk the talk”. Elon would only be 66 in 19 years when you project his Mars base boondoggle would be reality; too bad he is not in the ________ business. Problem with the ________ business is that the major players, the equivalents of Boeing, SpaceX, ULA, NASA, ESA in the ________ business aren’t committing themselves to making a _____ so, this billionaire seems to be an eccentric. I figured I’d be flushing years down the sink working for the effort – so here I sit not working on a kicka$$ project – still lined up to flush years down the drain “turning the crank” at my day job. It is easy to fall in love with the idea of being part of an effort like SpaceX – it is however a young man’s luxury to gamble your long term livelihood working for an eccentric that might turn out to be a crank. I’m not saying that is the case with Musk; what I am saying is that I kick myself for taking the safe route because it represents giving up on idealistic youthful pursuits.

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  20. Two years ago Musk said early 2019, last month Shotwell said late 2019, at most that is a 6 months slip in 2 year span. Proportionately, that would at worst having the BFS begin hop tests in very early 2020 and still put manned Mars landings in the 2026 synod.

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  21. Costs 2.5 times more to develop I should say. Operationally It might be less expensive but for a limited development budget, frankly if we get there at all we are doing great.

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  22. SpaceX has done what it has done, which includes flight articles of the Raptor engine and structural pieces of the BFR (and dropped the cost of LEO access by a factor of 17 from the Shuttle costs with the Falcon series development and commercialization), with already far fewer sources and drastically less cost than NASA estimated would be required. Why do you think the trend will not continue?

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  23. Yeah exactly this. Three different ships for the same mission performs better but costs 2.5 times as much as one more complicated ship that does it all as there is a lot of work that needs to be repeated for each.

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  24. Study by NASA the other day said that a 12 month return trip to mars would give an astronaut about 80% of their career limit on radiation before significantly increased cancer risk. That’s not “brain a sieve” That’s more like “Martians suffer from somewhat higher cancer rates than earthlings and have to live much of their time under ground until we get some terraforming going.” Given that the risk of the human race going extinct if we don’t eventually get off earth is 100%… I’ll take it.

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  25. As I said in another comment here, they will likely need to send a rover to the specific location they choose, to verify water resources and check the soil strength. Otherwise you risk landing on an unusable site. SpaceX has enough rockets to send a lander ahead of time.

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  26. If you have a propellant plant in operation, you have a lot of fuel to feed a fuel cell, and use that to make electricity if a dust storm happens.

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  27. Orbiters and a few rovers are not sufficient to characterize a base site. Stuff like water availability and soil strength for the building foundations needs ground-truth (i.e. direct sampling at the specific location). But SpaceX is capable of sending a rover to Mars with the Falcon Heavy. They have sent a car-mass object in that direction already. They could also launch a payload towards Mars with an early version of the BFR. Just carry a big enough upper stage as payload on the cargo version. 100 tons in LEO should be enough.

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  28. This is Elon estimate, so you have to multiply by 1.88 to convert to Earth years. Elon works on the Martian calendar, and that’s the ratio. So “ten years” works out to 19 Earth years, or 2037.

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  29. > I’m sorry but I still don’t get the point of putting humans on Mars. That’s OK. You don’t have to go, and you aren’t paying for it. People live in all kinds of environments on Earth, from Alaska to Death Valley. Mars is just one more environment. We don’t all want the same things, nor is it necessary for us to.

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  30. I’m sorry but I still don’t get the point of putting humans on Mars. They are incredibly difficult to keep alive and in the foreseeable future AI and robots will be able to do anything they can. Just for a starter you have to consider the level of radiation once you are outside the earth’s magnetic field. By the time you got to Mars your brain would be like a sieve with high energy particle tracks. Then you have zero gravity leaving you like a jelly by the time you arrive. Getting a space ship there is the easy bit but taking men / women along is a mugs game

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  31. I don’t understand the ‘Ignore the Moon. Go to Mars’ crowd. I would like to see a significant fraction of humanity living off earth in the next few centuries. If Luna & Mars were equally far away Mars would be the better 1st step but 3 days to Luna with launch windows every day vs 6 to 9 months to Mars with launch windows only every 26 months is an overwhelming advantage for doing Luna 1st. The evidence has been accumulating that there is plenty of water ice on Luna for life support & rocket fuel so the best argument for Mars 1st has been negated.We should concentrate on industrializing the moon.www(dot)youtube(dot)com/watch?v=bGcvv3683Os

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  32. Indeed the point is having the option and making sure that those that can and want are able to do it.Many of us have probably too many ties with Earth to ever make such a big movement but a few restless ones could.That’s the beauty of a free society with a free market and one of the main strengths of humans overall.

    Reply
  33. Had an interview with a ~72 year old billionaire in July; it was a 3rd interview to be part of his ‘pet’ engineering team for his hobby project which he insisted was going to take over the ________ business””. Project has been on the books since 2011 and hasn’t progressed very much. He thinks he is going to do it “”””lean and mean.”””” With a heavy heart I turned it down because although I have met many 72 year olds that are “”””sharp as a tack”””””””” I haven’t met any 82 year olds that fit that description and he is simply not committing the resources necessary to “”””walk the talk””””. Elon would only be 66 in 19 years when you project his Mars base boondoggle would be reality; too bad he is not in the ________ business. Problem with the ________ business is that the major players”” the equivalents of Boeing SpaceX ULA NASA ESA in the ________ business aren’t committing themselves to making a _____ so”” this billionaire seems to be an eccentric. I figured I’d be flushing years down the sink working for the effort – so here I sit not working on a kicka$$ project – still lined up to flush years down the drain “”””turning the crank”””” at my day job. It is easy to fall in love with the idea of being part of an effort like SpaceX – it is however a young man’s luxury to gamble your long term livelihood working for an eccentric that might turn out to be a crank. I’m not saying that is the case with Musk; what I am saying is that I kick myself for taking the safe route because it represents giving up on idealistic youthful pursuits.”””

    Reply
  34. Two years ago Musk said early 2019 last month Shotwell said late 2019 at most that is a 6 months slip in 2 year span. Proportionately that would at worst having the BFS begin hop tests in very early 2020 and still put manned Mars landings in the 2026 synod.

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  35. Costs 2.5 times more to develop I should say. Operationally It might be less expensive but for a limited development budget frankly if we get there at all we are doing great.

    Reply
  36. SpaceX has done what it has done which includes flight articles of the Raptor engine and structural pieces of the BFR (and dropped the cost of LEO access by a factor of 17 from the Shuttle costs with the Falcon series development and commercialization) with already far fewer sources and drastically less cost than NASA estimated would be required.Why do you think the trend will not continue?

    Reply
  37. Yeah exactly this. Three different ships for the same mission performs better but costs 2.5 times as much as one more complicated ship that does it all as there is a lot of work that needs to be repeated for each.

    Reply
  38. Study by NASA the other day said that a 12 month return trip to mars would give an astronaut about 80{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of their career limit on radiation before significantly increased cancer risk.That’s not brain a sieve”” That’s more like “”””Martians suffer from somewhat higher cancer rates than earthlings and have to live much of their time under ground until we get some terraforming going.””””Given that the risk of the human race going extinct if we don’t eventually get off earth is 100{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12}… I’ll take it.”””

    Reply
  39. As I said in another comment here they will likely need to send a rover to the specific location they choose to verify water resources and check the soil strength. Otherwise you risk landing on an unusable site. SpaceX has enough rockets to send a lander ahead of time.

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  40. If you have a propellant plant in operation you have a lot of fuel to feed a fuel cell and use that to make electricity if a dust storm happens.

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  41. Orbiters and a few rovers are not sufficient to characterize a base site. Stuff like water availability and soil strength for the building foundations needs ground-truth (i.e. direct sampling at the specific location).But SpaceX is capable of sending a rover to Mars with the Falcon Heavy. They have sent a car-mass object in that direction already. They could also launch a payload towards Mars with an early version of the BFR. Just carry a big enough upper stage as payload on the cargo version. 100 tons in LEO should be enough.

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  42. Does Mars have a lot of area that’s windswept, rocky, flat, and *immediately adjacent to a thick strata of shallowly buried ice*? These requirements strike me as a bit contradictory. But I suppose the Mars bound BFR’s can be equipped with over-sized landing feet.

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  43. Can’t link on Vuukle, but Wikipedia has a decent article on health threat from cosmic rays. It would barely register on normal cell turnover, in tissues that HAVE normal cell turnover. The problem for the brain is that you have some important cells that don’t turn over at all, they have to last your entire life. It’s estimated that a trip to Mars on the most economical trajectory might cost you 5% of them. (Possibly why Musk is so obsessed with shortening the trip.) While a reasonably bright person isn’t going to turn into a drooling moron from losing 5% of their brain cells, this puts a pretty high priority at minimizing the number of round trips. Trips to Mars should, ideally, be one way, and if round trip, forget about making the trip a second time. At least until we have good shielding against high energy cosmic rays.

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  44. I would like to see a significant fraction of humanity living off earth in the next few centuries. ” You planning on living a few centuries in order to ‘see’ that, then? 🙂

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  45. Distinct issues: High energy cosmic rays don’t tend to cause cancer, because they flat out obliterate the cells they go through. Lower energy radiation causes cancer. But it does seem like the cosmic rays would do a real number on your CNS given enough time, because each one that passes through your brain kills every cell it goes through the cell body of. (Axons might be ok, though.)

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  46. 1: 12 month return trip”” is awfully long. I suppose if you launch at complete opposite ends of orbits (Mars and Earth and farthest they could be away from each other). Don’t they usually take 6 months? Or do you mean 12 month *round* trip?2: Refuelling the BFR tanks in LEO will drastically reduce travel times”””” and thus radiation exposure. I think I remember reading a touted 4 week trip?”””

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  47. Can’t link on Vuukle but Wikipedia has a decent article on health threat from cosmic rays.It would barely register on normal cell turnover in tissues that HAVE normal cell turnover. The problem for the brain is that you have some important cells that don’t turn over at all they have to last your entire life. It’s estimated that a trip to Mars on the most economical trajectory might cost you 5{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of them. (Possibly why Musk is so obsessed with shortening the trip.)While a reasonably bright person isn’t going to turn into a drooling moron from losing 5{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of their brain cells this puts a pretty high priority at minimizing the number of round trips. Trips to Mars should ideally be one way and if round trip forget about making the trip a second time.At least until we have good shielding against high energy cosmic rays.

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  48. I would like to see a significant fraction of humanity living off earth in the next few centuries. “”You planning on living a few centuries in order to ‘see’ that”””” then? :)”””

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  49. Distinct issues: High energy cosmic rays don’t tend to cause cancer because they flat out obliterate the cells they go through. Lower energy radiation causes cancer.But it does seem like the cosmic rays would do a real number on your CNS given enough time because each one that passes through your brain kills every cell it goes through the cell body of. (Axons might be ok though.)

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  50. Yeah, but you still have considerable acreage to dust off after the storm. Ideally the propellant plant should be up and running, and have generated enough propellant for a return trip, before your first manned ship arrives. So, panel dusting robots? In a sane world, you’d just bring a nuclear reactor. But we don’t live in a sane world, so it’s got to be powered by solar or windmills or something else that won’t make the watermelons scream.

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  51. Now you’re venturing into the not-oft talked about social side of a colony: will there be Martian laws, or are they subject to U.S. law (Liability Convention). This snowballs into questions like “banks accounts located on Mars would accrue interest faster than on Earth…but would that be recognized?” Though, they aren’t oft-talked about due to them existing in the far flung future, when we’re first worried about plain ‘ole existing first.

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  52. 1: “12 month return trip” is awfully long. I suppose if you launch at complete opposite ends of orbits (Mars and Earth and farthest they could be away from each other). Don’t they usually take 6 months? Or do you mean 12 month *round* trip? 2: Refuelling the BFR tanks in LEO will drastically reduce travel times, and thus radiation exposure. I think I remember reading a touted 4 week trip?

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  53. Does Mars have a lot of area that’s windswept rocky flat and *immediately adjacent to a thick strata of shallowly buried ice*? These requirements strike me as a bit contradictory.But I suppose the Mars bound BFR’s can be equipped with over-sized landing feet.

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  54. Yeah but you still have considerable acreage to dust off after the storm. Ideally the propellant plant should be up and running and have generated enough propellant for a return trip before your first manned ship arrives. So panel dusting robots?In a sane world you’d just bring a nuclear reactor. But we don’t live in a sane world so it’s got to be powered by solar or windmills or something else that won’t make the watermelons scream.

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  55. “”12 month return trip”””” is awfully long.”””” Yeah”” the low energy trip time is closer to 7 months”” not 12.”””

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  56. Now you’re venturing into the not-oft talked about social side of a colony: will there be Martian laws or are they subject to U.S. law (Liability Convention). This snowballs into questions like banks accounts located on Mars would accrue interest faster than on Earth…but would that be recognized?”” Though”” they aren’t oft-talked about due to them existing in the far flung future”” when we’re first worried about plain ‘ole existing first.”””

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  57. Elon is starting to show more interest for the Moon these days. NBF recently reported him saying that there should be a base on the Moon. Methalox production on the Moon for refueling in LM2 would also increase the max payload to Mars and/or allow a shorter trip, so it aligns well with Elon’s interests. But I think the Moon may be almost “too easy” from Elon’s perspective, and too close.

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  58. The first Mars base doesn’t need ‘optimal’ siting. Attempted over-optimization to multiple conflicting goals is exactly the mistake NASA (and Congress) has made for the past 50 years. The Marsbase Alpha site needs: 1) a large, reasonably safe landing area (common); 2) adquate sunlight (“less than 40 degrees latitude”); 3) atmosphere with CO2 (everywhere); 4) dirt (for cheap shielding – almost everywhere); 5) easily mineable water ice or maybe hydrogen-rich minerals for fuel production (reasonably common and already mapped by Mars Odyssey). Bonus: interesting sites for prospecting and scientific investigation nearby (all over Mars) Once Alpha is established, prospecting for additional sites better for particular purposes can proceed at a FAR faster pace than by sending specialized robotic rovers from Earth.

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  59. From the comment above “80% career astronaut dose” and some wiki reading, which says 66% of career astronaut dose (100 Rem) that is like 88Rem/5040 hours, which is like 17 mR/hour. You’d hit the NRC 5 Rem/year in 12 days. I guess I wouldn’t fear that too much based on the false premise of Linear No Threshold Dose effect model, but I’d send Laika the dog first just in case. Pray for hormesis. Pray for faster ships, or learn to love the Earth 🙂

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  60. 1) It was a NASA study not a spacex one and the NASA mars architectures tend to have longer travel times than the spacex plans. 2) I’ve seen 4 week estimates on the NASA lithium fusion LINAC drive. Maybe that’s what you were thinking of? That’s a ways out yet though.

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  61. I don’t think you can get anywhere near 4 weeks without exotic propulsion technologies. Just using a crude straight line approximation, (Because at 4 weeks, you basically ARE traveling in a straight line!) you’d be looking at over 45KPS delta V, without even trying to land. And that’s at closest approach.

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  62. The northern hemisphere is thought to be once a large ocean, given its depressed “altitude above sea level” relative to the southern highlands. It’s almost all entirely flat and smooth. Smooth terrain + more time to ground means engineers are stoked about landing there for safety reasons, but scientists are not because flat and safe is boring from a geological standpoint. However, from a prospecting standpoint, engineers and prospectors are on the same page. Find the best on-orbit “wet spots” (which we’ve more or less done), send some rovers to confirm a deposit into a reserve, and botta-bing-botta-boom you’ve got some rocket fuel to vroom.

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  63. Why couldn’t it land on ice? Or permafrost? at 45psi, cars can go on on regular moist ground here. Why are 3′ diameter oversized?

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  64. I’ve also read about the 80 day travel times, but for some reason the “4 week” time stuck. With some quick searches I can’t find it, though. Perhaps it was a “quickest possible trip time would be…” figure. And while I’m trying to remember, I seem to recall Elon stating it, so perhaps a bit “Elonized” as well.

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  65. Elon is starting to show more interest for the Moon these days. NBF recently reported him saying that there should be a base on the Moon. Methalox production on the Moon for refueling in LM2 would also increase the max payload to Mars and/or allow a shorter trip so it aligns well with Elon’s interests. But I think the Moon may be almost too easy”” from Elon’s perspective”””” and too close.”””

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  66. The first Mars base doesn’t need ‘optimal’ siting. Attempted over-optimization to multiple conflicting goals is exactly the mistake NASA (and Congress) has made for the past 50 years.The Marsbase Alpha site needs:1) a large reasonably safe landing area (common); 2) adquate sunlight (less than 40 degrees latitude””); 3) atmosphere with CO2 (everywhere); 4) dirt (for cheap shielding – almost everywhere); 5) easily mineable water ice or maybe hydrogen-rich minerals for fuel production (reasonably common and already mapped by Mars Odyssey). Bonus: interesting sites for prospecting and scientific investigation nearby (all over Mars)Once Alpha is established”””” prospecting for additional sites better for particular purposes can proceed at a FAR faster pace than by sending specialized robotic rovers from Earth.”””

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  67. From the comment above 80{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} career astronaut dose”” and some wiki reading”” which says 66{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of career astronaut dose (100 Rem) that is like 88Rem/5040 hours which is like 17 mR/hour. You’d hit the NRC 5 Rem/year in 12 days. I guess I wouldn’t fear that too much based on the false premise of Linear No Threshold Dose effect model but I’d send Laika the dog first just in case. Pray for hormesis. Pray for faster ships”” or learn to love the Earth :)”””

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  68. 1) It was a NASA study not a spacex one and the NASA mars architectures tend to have longer travel times than the spacex plans.2) I’ve seen 4 week estimates on the NASA lithium fusion LINAC drive. Maybe that’s what you were thinking of? That’s a ways out yet though.

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  69. I don’t think you can get anywhere near 4 weeks without exotic propulsion technologies.Just using a crude straight line approximation (Because at 4 weeks you basically ARE traveling in a straight line!) you’d be looking at over 45KPS delta V without even trying to land. And that’s at closest approach.

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  70. The northern hemisphere is thought to be once a large ocean given its depressed altitude above sea level”” relative to the southern highlands. It’s almost all entirely flat and smooth. Smooth terrain + more time to ground means engineers are stoked about landing there for safety reasons”” but scientists are not because flat and safe is boring from a geological standpoint. However from a prospecting standpoint”” engineers and prospectors are on the same page. Find the best on-orbit “”””wet spots”””” (which we’ve more or less done)”” send some rovers to confirm a deposit into a reserve”” and botta-bing-botta-boom you’ve got some rocket fuel to vroom.”””

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  71. Why couldn’t it land on ice? Or permafrost? at 45psi cars can go on on regular moist ground here. Why are 3′ diameter oversized?

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  72. I’ve also read about the 80 day travel times but for some reason the 4 week”” time stuck. With some quick searches I can’t find it”””” though. Perhaps it was a “”””quickest possible trip time would be…”””” figure. And while I’m trying to remember”” I seem to recall Elon stating it”” so perhaps a bit “”””Elonized”””” as well.”””

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  73. Oh yes I agree, it is very important. There just usually aren’t enough dollars to go around to prioritize that before the engineering side. Hence why we’ve got physiological and psychological problems for Mars-distance space travel that aren’t addressed yet, even though we have the vehicles.

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  74. We can actually give it an atmosphere, and magnetic field. The magnetic field would be substantially easier to do, of course, as the amount of material to build the solenoid system would be trivial on a planetary scale, compared to the mass of an atmosphere. But, yeah, lots of telepresence, I expect.

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  75. It’s not ideal from a “lifeboat” perspective, being close enough to Earth that a number of potential extinction events would take out a Moon colony along with Earth. But the fact that somebody else might help with funding it is attractive.

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  76. That makes sense: NASA doesn’t factor in refuelling because it’s not a thing yet. And it could be that…or just me losing mind.

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  77. All the living habitats will either be built underground or covered in martian soil to a depth of several metres for shielding. It is going to pose an issue for future martians with outside jobs… Lots of telepresence robots?

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  78. the social side is very important; look at how Russia and the US are not getting along right now in the International Space Station

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  79. I’d be more concerned about people living on a planet without either a magnetic field or atmosphere. How long would it take them to pass the threshold of getting a dangerous level of radiation?

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  80. Oh yes I agree it is very important. There just usually aren’t enough dollars to go around to prioritize that before the engineering side. Hence why we’ve got physiological and psychological problems for Mars-distance space travel that aren’t addressed yet even though we have the vehicles.

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  81. We can actually give it an atmosphere and magnetic field. The magnetic field would be substantially easier to do of course as the amount of material to build the solenoid system would be trivial on a planetary scale compared to the mass of an atmosphere.But yeah lots of telepresence I expect.

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  82. It’s not ideal from a lifeboat”” perspective”””” being close enough to Earth that a number of potential extinction events would take out a Moon colony along with Earth.But the fact that somebody else might help with funding it is attractive.”””

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  83. That makes sense: NASA doesn’t factor in refuelling because it’s not a thing yet. And it could be that…or just me losing mind.

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  84. All the living habitats will either be built underground or covered in martian soil to a depth of several metres for shielding. It is going to pose an issue for future martians with outside jobs… Lots of telepresence robots?

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  85. the social side is very important; look at how Russia and the US are not getting along right now in the International Space Station

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  86. I’d be more concerned about people living on a planet without either a magnetic field or atmosphere. How long would it take them to pass the threshold of getting a dangerous level of radiation?

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  87. That carrier limit on radiation is super conservative. “Astronauts’ radiation exposure limit is not to exceed 3% of the risk of exposure-induced death (REID) from fatal cancer over their career.” So if your lifetime risk of death from cancer is 22% (” Men have 22.05 percent lifetime risk of dying from cancer”) than it will go up to 25%. I think the first Mars colonists will be willing to accept a much higher rate of dying from cancer increase given the fact that their chance of dying from other causes on Mars will be much higher.

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  88. Probably could have cut down on the engineer count if they had done things like standardize lithium hydroxide CO2 scrubber designs. Remember this was a government job. In fairness if you watch the excellent “Moon Machines” series on Youtube which discusses the engineering behind what was done then you will find out that Apollo was a R&D project with a few rocket launches to validate that landing on the Moon was theoretically possible.

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  89. 1. Agreed Linear No Threshold Dose effect is bunk. 2. Moon is nearby 3. If all you have is a BFS hammer then everything looks like a BFS nail. The future will have better things than the BFS which strikes me as ideally suited to go from Earth to LEO.

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  90. The reactors can be built by the colonists fairly early, though. A CANDU style reactor should be easy to build on Mars, with Martian water already enriched in Deuterium, and untouched pitchblende deposits.

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  91. I don’t understand the ‘Ignore the Moon. Go to Mars’ crowd.” The case for Mars against the Moon is that ISRU is easier. The case for the Moon and against Mars is that in the time it takes one BFS to make a round trip the same BFS could have made 20 round trips to the moon. Throughput of mass to the Moon is 20x higher than throughput of mass to Mars. The amortized cost of the BFS for a single kg of mass to the Moon is 20x less than the amortized cost of a kg to the Moon.

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  92. That carrier limit on radiation is super conservative. Astronauts’ radiation exposure limit is not to exceed 3{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of the risk of exposure-induced death (REID) from fatal cancer over their career.”” So if your lifetime risk of death from cancer is 22{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} (“””” Men have 22.05 percent lifetime risk of dying from cancer””””) than it will go up to 25{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12}. I think the first Mars colonists will be willing to accept a much higher rate of dying from cancer increase given the fact that their chance of dying from other causes on Mars will be much higher.”””

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  93. Probably could have cut down on the engineer count if they had done things like standardize lithium hydroxide CO2 scrubber designs.Remember this was a government job.In fairness if you watch the excellent Moon Machines”” series on Youtube which discusses the engineering behind what was done then you will find out that Apollo was a R&D project with a few rocket launches to validate that landing on the Moon was theoretically possible.”””

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  94. 1. Agreed Linear No Threshold Dose effect is bunk.2. Moon is nearby3. If all you have is a BFS hammer then everything looks like a BFS nail. The future will have better things than the BFS which strikes me as ideally suited to go from Earth to LEO.

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  95. The reactors can be built by the colonists fairly early though. A CANDU style reactor should be easy to build on Mars with Martian water already enriched in Deuterium and untouched pitchblende deposits.

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  96. I don’t understand the ‘Ignore the Moon. Go to Mars’ crowd.””The case for Mars against the Moon is that ISRU is easier.The case for the Moon and against Mars is that in the time it takes one BFS to make a round trip the same BFS could have made 20 round trips to the moon. Throughput of mass to the Moon is 20x higher than throughput of mass to Mars. The amortized cost of the BFS for a single kg of mass to the Moon is 20x less than the amortized cost of a kg to the Moon.”””

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  97. What will be made on Mars & sold for a profit on Earth? ” 2 things. Documentaries and reality TV. Together they’ll cover the cost to ship the TV camera to Mars. Maybe.

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  98. Except that Musk is saying mid-20s & I’m saying 2040 at the earliest. Ask yourself this question – What will be made on Mars & sold for a profit on Earth? It’s like deciding you want to build a coffee table for your living room. But instead of getting the wood from the forest down the road, instead you grab a pine cone & head for the South Pole to create the environment to grow the tree.

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  99. I see little chance for a Mars colony short of 20-50 years of space infrastructure development. ” I believe that is exactly what Musk has signed up for.

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  100. Available solar energy is 5x that of low latitude Mars at Earth’s orbit & if workable, the lunar poles. Sunward NEOs have even more energy plus gravity from zero to however fast you can spin. Plus the NEOs have by far the lowest delta-v & easily discovered resources. Trip times are no worst than Mars. I see little chance for a Mars colony short of 20-50 years of space infrastructure development.

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  101. Even from a lifeboat perspective having an easy mode”” space colony first would probably decrease the time to establish more distant colonies.”””

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  102. What will be made on Mars & sold for a profit on Earth? “”2 things. Documentaries and reality TV.Together they’ll cover the cost to ship the TV camera to Mars. Maybe.”””

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  103. Except that Musk is saying mid-20s & I’m saying 2040 at the earliest.Ask yourself this question – What will be made on Mars & sold for a profit on Earth?It’s like deciding you want to build a coffee table for your living room. But instead of getting the wood from the forest down the road instead you grab a pine cone & head for the South Pole to create the environment to grow the tree.

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  104. I see little chance for a Mars colony short of 20-50 years of space infrastructure development. “”I believe that is exactly what Musk has signed up for.”””

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  105. Available solar energy is 5x that of low latitude Mars at Earth’s orbit & if workable the lunar poles. Sunward NEOs have even more energy plus gravity from zero to however fast you can spin. Plus the NEOs have by far the lowest delta-v & easily discovered resources. Trip times are no worst than Mars.I see little chance for a Mars colony short of 20-50 years of space infrastructure development.

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  106. Isn’t there empirical evidence for hormesis? The whole ‘korean apartment building with radioactive cobalt in the concrete where cancer rates were 40% lower for 15 years’ kinda thing?

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  107. Even from a lifeboat perspective, having an “easy mode” space colony first would probably decrease the time to establish more distant colonies.

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  108. Isn’t there empirical evidence for hormesis? The whole ‘korean apartment building with radioactive cobalt in the concrete where cancer rates were 40{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} lower for 15 years’ kinda thing?

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  109. I don’t have any numbers on the size of the feet planned for the BFR, but 3 feet seems a bit large given aerodynamic considerations for the fins.

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  110. Not the least bit loony; You have to remember that, because of radioactive decay, our fundamental biology evolved in an environment with a lot more natural radiation than today. Sure, we’re probably evolving towards being adapted to lower radiation, but since the radiation is dropping all the time, evolution is chasing a moving target here. Anyway, the long term low dose radiation study got terminated just before issuing it’s report, towards the end of the Obama administration. Rumors are it’s because they were going to report that radiation hormesis was proven, and for political reasons the administration didn’t want to give up on the LNT model, it would have really pissed off the watermelons.

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  111. Ask yourself this, why do they need to make any profit selling Mars stuff on Earth when Musk is intent on doing it out of first SpaceX’s profits, and then settlers paying their own way in return for a chunk of Mars? It’s like you have not the first clue what this about, it’s not about trading with Earth, it’s not predicated on that or limited by success in doing that.

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  112. it’s a tough sell – probably more of a Schrodinger’s cat kind of thing where they looked inside the Box and cancer rates were 40% lower in this case. Besides killing off old cells which doesn’t sound particularly healthy, hormesis is a loony idea…. uncomfortable fringe science best left unmentioned

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  113. I don’t have any numbers on the size of the feet planned for the BFR but 3 feet seems a bit large given aerodynamic considerations for the fins.

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  114. Not the least bit loony; You have to remember that because of radioactive decay our fundamental biology evolved in an environment with a lot more natural radiation than today. Sure we’re probably evolving towards being adapted to lower radiation but since the radiation is dropping all the time evolution is chasing a moving target here.Anyway the long term low dose radiation study got terminated just before issuing it’s report towards the end of the Obama administration. Rumors are it’s because they were going to report that radiation hormesis was proven and for political reasons the administration didn’t want to give up on the LNT model it would have really pissed off the watermelons.

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  115. Ask yourself this why do they need to make any profit selling Mars stuff on Earth when Musk is intent on doing it out of first SpaceX’s profits and then settlers paying their own way in return for a chunk of Mars?It’s like you have not the first clue what this about it’s not about trading with Earth it’s not predicated on that or limited by success in doing that.

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  116. it’s a tough sell – probably more of a Schrodinger’s cat kind of thing where they looked inside the Box and cancer rates were 40{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} lower in this case.Besides killing off old cells which doesn’t sound particularly healthy hormesis is a loony idea…. uncomfortable fringe science best left unmentioned

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  117. Still doesn’t mean that anyone should take excess dose. The LNT simplifies tracking, enforcement, regulation and radiation protection. It is actually not difficult to adhere to ALARA principals at a power station with clad fuel.

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  118. Dude… cancer rates are high to begin with – among all walks of life all over the planet. The sample population of people exposed to acute radiation dose is exceedingly small such that the statistics derived are questionable. My questioning attitude, which you pathologically call ‘pathological skepticism’ leads me to form the opinion that RADIATION IS NOT CARCINOGENIC. So while others form conspiracy theories about whatever pet cause, I simply question a pillar of a notoriously nebulous field of study – the incidence of cancer among those that have been irradiated. We’ve all been irradiated by background and 1 in 3 of us develop cancer anyway. Not only do I think radiation hormesis is a ‘tough sell’ – actually complete BS – I am stating that the link between exposure and cancer statistically inconclusive and most likely nonexistent.

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  119. Consider that for this application only the fin leading-edge might benefit from being a fairly narrow bluff radius. The trailing edge might well be boattail. And the pads fold.

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  120. Nice utopia. But perhaps first you should talk to the National Science Foundation. You could help them turn Antarctica’s South Pole Station into a money maker rather than a money sink, “on patents alone”! 😉 Travelers to the Asteroid Belt may well refuel from Mars orbit, so there’s something Mars can sell. But NEO’s offer the same resources at (ballpark) a tenth the cost. And prospectors may well go sunward first.

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  121. It’s like you have not the first clue what this about” – then perhaps you can enlighten me. How does the Colony sustain itself? I assume that they will need some kind of economy, so that when the gizmo breaks in the watermaker, the Colony will have enough wealth to buy a new one & transport it to Mars. After all, it’s not like Elon’s pockets are bottomless or that he doesn’t expect to get his money back. So unless that ticket price includes not just the transportation cost to get to Mars, but the infrastructure cost to sustain you for the rest of your life, how does it work? Because I think that would be a pretty pricey ticket.

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  122. I don’t think the report was going to ‘prove’ hormesis, but it was going to contradict the LNT model. Supposedly life has been around for about 500M years. All the Oklos should have been subcritical by then. All the other primordial nuclides have longer half lives than 235U. So, I don’t believe it is accurate to claim that life developed during a period where the background environmental dose was significantly higher. It may have been higher, but of similar magnitude. IMO the hormesis idea is simply an indication that incidence of cancer is fully independent of dose – this would imply that the general consensus or publicly known ‘fact’ that radiation causes cancer is actually not a fact and is wrong. Radiation can kill you with acute dose. Radiation can cure you with acute local dose by cooking tumors locally and doing it slowly enough that the spleen and kidneys can clean up the mess. The only known effect of radiation on biological tissue leaving tracks of ions – that is damage. I’ve always though hormesis was total BS – just spooky statistics. Look for coincidences and you’ll find them. In the case of hormesis the coincidence is false – the incidence of cancer and radiation exposure are simply unrelated in contrary to popular knowledge.

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  123. Still doesn’t mean that anyone should take excess dose. The LNT simplifies tracking enforcement regulation and radiation protection. It is actually not difficult to adhere to ALARA principals at a power station with clad fuel.

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  124. Dude… cancer rates are high to begin with – among all walks of life all over the planet. The sample population of people exposed to acute radiation dose is exceedingly small such that the statistics derived are questionable. My questioning attitude which you pathologically call ‘pathological skepticism’ leads me to form the opinion that RADIATION IS NOT CARCINOGENIC. So while others form conspiracy theories about whatever pet cause I simply question a pillar of a notoriously nebulous field of study – the incidence of cancer among those that have been irradiated. We’ve all been irradiated by background and 1 in 3 of us develop cancer anyway. Not only do I think radiation hormesis is a ‘tough sell’ – actually complete BS – I am stating that the link between exposure and cancer statistically inconclusive and most likely nonexistent.

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  125. Consider that for this application only the fin leading-edge might benefit from being a fairly narrow bluff radius. The trailing edge might well be boattail. And the pads fold.

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  126. Nice utopia.But perhaps first you should talk to the National Science Foundation. You could help them turn Antarctica’s South Pole Station into a money maker rather than a money sink on patents alone””! ;)Travelers to the Asteroid Belt may well refuel from Mars orbit”””” so there’s something Mars can sell. But NEO’s offer the same resources at (ballpark) a tenth the cost. And prospectors may well go sunward first.”””

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  127. It’s like you have not the first clue what this about”” – then perhaps you can enlighten me. How does the Colony sustain itself? I assume that they will need some kind of economy”” so that when the gizmo breaks in the watermaker the Colony will have enough wealth to buy a new one & transport it to Mars. After all it’s not like Elon’s pockets are bottomless or that he doesn’t expect to get his money back.So unless that ticket price includes not just the transportation cost to get to Mars but the infrastructure cost to sustain you for the rest of your life”” how does it work? Because I think that would be a pretty pricey ticket.”””

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  128. I don’t think the report was going to ‘prove’ hormesis but it was going to contradict the LNT model.Supposedly life has been around for about 500M years. All the Oklos should have been subcritical by then. All the other primordial nuclides have longer half lives than 235U. So I don’t believe it is accurate to claim that life developed during a period where the background environmental dose was significantly higher. It may have been higher but of similar magnitude. IMO the hormesis idea is simply an indication that incidence of cancer is fully independent of dose – this would imply that the general consensus or publicly known ‘fact’ that radiation causes cancer is actually not a fact and is wrong. Radiation can kill you with acute dose. Radiation can cure you with acute local dose by cooking tumors locally and doing it slowly enough that the spleen and kidneys can clean up the mess. The only known effect of radiation on biological tissue leaving tracks of ions – that is damage. I’ve always though hormesis was total BS – just spooky statistics. Look for coincidences and you’ll find them. In the case of hormesis the coincidence is false – the incidence of cancer and radiation exposure are simply unrelated in contrary to popular knowledge.

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  129. > But NEO’s offer the same resources at (ballpark) a tenth the cost. The composition of NEO’s and the various parts of the Asteroid Belt are different, due to their origins at varying distances from the Sun, and later evolution. That may be sufficient reason to mine different locations.

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  130. > then perhaps you can enlighten me. How does the Colony sustain itself? By a combination of Seed Factories and trade. A Seed Factory is a starter set of machines, like lathe, milling machine, etc. It is used to make *more* machines using locally-mined resources. This is easy on Mars, because various rovers have driven past metallic meteorites just sitting around on the surface. This gives you a supply of steel to feed the machine tools. The expanded set of machines produces a wider range of materials and products. Some of those can be traded to other places in space. Mars won’t be colonized in isolation. Asteroids and the Moon have different “ores” than Mars, and trade will naturally evolve between them. Around 1-2% of stuff won’t be produced locally. That includes materials too rare to mine locally, and parts too complicated to make, like computer chips. Those will still come from Earth. But the space economy is already profitable, with a GSP (gross space product) of $350B a year. Those revenues can pay for the needed supplies from Earth.

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  131. IMO – as a layperson skeptic – is that probabilities for cancer increase as the number of damage/healing cycles increases. If you smoke, you are continually damaging lung tissue and it is continually healing with cells replicating. If you are drinking daily, you are continually damaging liver tissue and it is continually healing with cells replicating. If you are routinely getting sunburn then your skin is routinely healing from damage with cells replicating. Chemical exposures – ditto. The more you ask your cells to replicate to repair clinical, macroscopic bulk damage, the higher the chances of errors (cancer). Now, don’t ask me why nobody gets small intestine cancer when the lining of the small intestine is replaced every 4 days.

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  132. > But NEO’s offer the same resources at (ballpark) a tenth the cost. The composition of NEO’s and the various parts of the Asteroid Belt are different due to their origins at varying distances from the Sun and later evolution. That may be sufficient reason to mine different locations.

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  133. > then perhaps you can enlighten me. How does the Colony sustain itself?By a combination of Seed Factories and trade. A Seed Factory is a starter set of machines like lathe milling machine etc. It is used to make *more* machines using locally-mined resources. This is easy on Mars because various rovers have driven past metallic meteorites just sitting around on the surface. This gives you a supply of steel to feed the machine tools.The expanded set of machines produces a wider range of materials and products. Some of those can be traded to other places in space. Mars won’t be colonized in isolation. Asteroids and the Moon have different ores”” than Mars”” and trade will naturally evolve between them.Around 1-2{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of stuff won’t be produced locally. That includes materials too rare to mine locally and parts too complicated to make like computer chips. Those will still come from Earth. But the space economy is already profitable”” with a GSP (gross space product) of $350B a year. Those revenues can pay for the needed supplies from Earth.”””

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  134. IMO – as a layperson skeptic – is that probabilities for cancer increase as the number of damage/healing cycles increases. If you smoke you are continually damaging lung tissue and it is continually healing with cells replicating. If you are drinking daily you are continually damaging liver tissue and it is continually healing with cells replicating. If you are routinely getting sunburn then your skin is routinely healing from damage with cells replicating. Chemical exposures – ditto. The more you ask your cells to replicate to repair clinical macroscopic bulk damage the higher the chances of errors (cancer). Now don’t ask me why nobody gets small intestine cancer when the lining of the small intestine is replaced every 4 days.

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  135. Treaty obligation not to claim sovereignty in Antarctica is easily abided-by since nobody wants it; kinda like mars in that way.

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  136. > ” Carbonaceous type asteroids are up to 20% water and carbon …” True, but I think Moon mining is easier, so I expect it to happen sooner. Moon water (and oxides, optionally) plus Earth carbon gives methalox just as well, though at the extra cost of launching and delivering carbon.

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  137. Given that SpaceX has built rockets before, their schedule for building the next one is likely more solid. But putting people on Mars requires a lot of new hardware development that they haven’t done before. That’s where I see a lot of possible delays. In the mean time, they can be flying the BFR for paying customers, or their own Skylink network, to provide income for payload development.

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  138. > Elon is starting to show more interest for the Moon these days. Actually, Gwynne Shotwell has been talking about “refueling stations” to enable accessing the whole solar system. Carbonaceous type asteroids are up to 20% water and carbon compounds. Those can be reformed to methane and oxygen, thus refueling the BFR. With a network of refueling stations, the vehicle can go anywhere, in principle.

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  139. Treaty obligation not to claim sovereignty in Antarctica is easily abided-by since nobody wants it; kinda like mars in that way.

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  140. > Carbonaceous type asteroids are up to 20{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} water and carbon …””True”” but I think Moon mining is easier so I expect it to happen sooner. Moon water (and oxides optionally) plus Earth carbon gives methalox just as well”” though at the extra cost of launching and delivering carbon.”””

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  141. Given that SpaceX has built rockets before their schedule for building the next one is likely more solid. But putting people on Mars requires a lot of new hardware development that they haven’t done before. That’s where I see a lot of possible delays. In the mean time they can be flying the BFR for paying customers or their own Skylink network to provide income for payload development.

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  142. > Elon is starting to show more interest for the Moon these days.Actually Gwynne Shotwell has been talking about refueling stations”” to enable accessing the whole solar system. Carbonaceous type asteroids are up to 20{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} water and carbon compounds. Those can be reformed to methane and oxygen”” thus refueling the BFR. With a network of refueling stations the vehicle can go anywhere”” in principle.”””

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  143. The treaty wouldn’t have been needed if nobody wanted it. Antarctica actually has substantial valuable natural resources, and could be profitably colonized *if you were allowed to exploit them*.

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  144. Well, if everyone with a stake in SpaceX wants all their return on investment to be Martian real estate, I wish them luck. Regardless, 98% of what SpaceX builds is more useful without the time/distance or the gravity well and will share the characteristic that all other successful non-scientific space ventures have – they make a profit.

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  145. The treaty wouldn’t have been needed if nobody wanted it. Antarctica actually has substantial valuable natural resources and could be profitably colonized *if you were allowed to exploit them*.

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  146. Well if everyone with a stake in SpaceX wants all their return on investment to be Martian real estate I wish them luck.Regardless 98{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of what SpaceX builds is more useful without the time/distance or the gravity well and will share the characteristic that all other successful non-scientific space ventures have – they make a profit.

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  147. It has oil, it has minerals — things people want. Everyone knows they can only get it by winning a war they likely can’t, that’s why no one tries.

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  148. It has oil it has minerals — things people want. Everyone knows they can only get it by winning a war they likely can’t that’s why no one tries.

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  149. will share the characteristic that all other successful non-scientific space ventures have – they make a profit “” “””

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  150. Not even slightly. ” I am stating that the link between exposure and cancer statistically inconclusive and most likely nonexistent ” & ” I think radiation hormesis is a ‘tough sell’ – actually complete BS ” Both opinions of yours I’ve quotes have the factual validity of a firm belief in Phlogiston.

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  151. Being on Mars doesn’t change the mass.” Pity really. Interstellar travel would be much easier if we could accelerate objects based on their weight rather than their mass.

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  152. Annoying pedantry: “Supposedly life has been around for about 500M years.” Actually there is fossil evidence going back 7 to 8 times as long. To quote wikipedia “The earliest life on Earth existed more than 3.5 billion years ago.” Google “Eoarchean”. It’s MULTICELLULAR life that didn’t appear until about 500 million years ago. Or maybe 600 million. There are still debates about what various fossils mean and the exact definition of “multicellular”.

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  153. Sovereignty in Antarctica would have no effect on the validity of any patented technology developed there. You’d get an international patent anyway.

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  154. Not even slightly. I am stating that the link between exposure and cancer statistically inconclusive and most likely nonexistent “” & “””” I think radiation hormesis is a ‘tough sell’ – actually complete BS “”””Both opinions of yours I’ve quotes have the factual validity of a firm belief in Phlogiston.”””

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  155. Being on Mars doesn’t change the mass.””Pity really. Interstellar travel would be much easier if we could accelerate objects based on their weight rather than their mass.”””

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  156. Annoying pedantry: Supposedly life has been around for about 500M years.””Actually there is fossil evidence going back 7 to 8 times as long. To quote wikipedia “”””The earliest life on Earth existed more than 3.5 billion years ago.””””Google “”””Eoarchean””””.It’s MULTICELLULAR life that didn’t appear until about 500 million years ago. Or maybe 600 million. There are still debates about what various fossils mean and the exact definition of “”””multicellular””””.”””

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  157. Sovereignty in Antarctica would have no effect on the validity of any patented technology developed there. You’d get an international patent anyway.

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  158. Are you talking about events such as a gamma ray bursts, solar magaflare, huge asteroid(200 miles across) or something similar? Those are the only things I can foresee that would take out the Moon as well(in the asteroid case, it will be shrapnel from the Earth’s crust flying off into space and creating a second moon. Now, it’s still not an ideal lifeboat since, there is no atmosphere at all(Mars at least has enough of an atmosphere to trap some heat at night, and enough pressure for liquid water to exist at some points during some parts of the year, Hellas Planitia sits low enough that pressure there probably exceeds 1250Pa, and temperatures of 80f are possible.). Also, the moon lacks the CO2 ice, and the extensive water-ice from the poles. Soil is unsuitable for growing plants. Alas, a settlement would probably still work well there. For the most part, it’s easier to send supplies, communication doesn’t take as long, well-established designs for other space missions would likely work on the Moon(you could build a surface base from ISS-derived parts, as long as you can land them).

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  159. Okay, so they have capability to produce 400 engines per year, enough for 10 BFR + BFS per year. Each BFR+BFS can be re-used 10 times before major refurb is needed(based on Falcon 9 B5 / Falcon Heavy goals). 10 BFS+BFR * 10 launches = 100 launches per year. So, SpaceX can theoretically do 100 launches per year. 100 launches per year of a ship that can do 100 Tonnes to Mars with in-orbit refueling, means about Mars payloads per year, assuming one-fifth of those are colonists(the other four-fifths are supplies), and each ship can carry 40 colonists, you can send 400 colonists per year. Assuming SpaceX starts in 2024, that gives them 4 years for Mars Base Alpha to be operational, by then there will be 1600 permanent colonists living on Mars. If the graphic from the 2017 announcement is still true, first cargo missions start in 2022, with first crewed mission in 2024, so this timeline makes sense. Where my estimate goes wrong IMO is that I have assumed that 100% of their resources are going to the Mars base, which is BS, because they have already said that BFR will replace F9/FH for trips to the Moon, delivering cargo to the ISS, and also serve for Earth-to-Earth transport.

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  160. Are you talking about events such as a gamma ray bursts solar magaflare huge asteroid(200 miles across) or something similar? Those are the only things I can foresee that would take out the Moon as well(in the asteroid case it will be shrapnel from the Earth’s crust flying off into space and creating a second moon.Now it’s still not an ideal lifeboat since there is no atmosphere at all(Mars at least has enough of an atmosphere to trap some heat at night and enough pressure for liquid water to exist at some points during some parts of the year Hellas Planitia sits low enough that pressure there probably exceeds 1250Pa and temperatures of 80f are possible.). Also the moon lacks the CO2 ice and the extensive water-ice from the poles. Soil is unsuitable for growing plants.Alas a settlement would probably still work well there. For the most part it’s easier to send supplies communication doesn’t take as long well-established designs for other space missions would likely work on the Moon(you could build a surface base from ISS-derived parts as long as you can land them).

    Reply
  161. Okay so they have capability to produce 400 engines per year enough for 10 BFR + BFS per year.Each BFR+BFS can be re-used 10 times before major refurb is needed(based on Falcon 9 B5 / Falcon Heavy goals).10 BFS+BFR * 10 launches = 100 launches per year.So SpaceX can theoretically do 100 launches per year.100 launches per year of a ship that can do 100 Tonnes to Mars with in-orbit refueling means about Mars payloads per year assuming one-fifth of those are colonists(the other four-fifths are supplies) and each ship can carry 40 colonists you can send 400 colonists per year.Assuming SpaceX starts in 2024 that gives them 4 years for Mars Base Alpha to be operational by then there will be 1600 permanent colonists living on Mars. If the graphic from the 2017 announcement is still true first cargo missions start in 2022 with first crewed mission in 2024 so this timeline makes sense.Where my estimate goes wrong IMO is that I have assumed that 100{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of their resources are going to the Mars base which is BS because they have already said that BFR will replace F9/FH for trips to the Moon delivering cargo to the ISS and also serve for Earth-to-Earth transport.

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  162. A huge asteroid, sure; You wouldn’t have to throw enough material up to make a new moon to threaten colonies, you’d just have to have a significant infall of meteors to make life hazardous unless the entire colony were buried deep, not dependent on any surface installations. But I had in mind more human threats like a pandemic disease or nuclear war; As I’ve remarked before, the distance between Earth and Mars serves as a natural quarantine.

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  163. A huge asteroid sure; You wouldn’t have to throw enough material up to make a new moon to threaten colonies you’d just have to have a significant infall of meteors to make life hazardous unless the entire colony were buried deep not dependent on any surface installations. But I had in mind more human threats like a pandemic disease or nuclear war; As I’ve remarked before the distance between Earth and Mars serves as a natural quarantine.

    Reply
  164. Historic missions were a brand new, untested design for each mission. SpaceX is going to thoroughly test the BFR/BFS near Earth before sending it anywhere, and will use the same well-tested design each time. That doesn’t mean the first 2-3 missions can’t fail. Mars is still far away, and different enough from cislunar space that things can still go wrong. But their chances are much higher than historic, and those first missions would be unmanned. Once they work out the kinks, the chance of BFS failure would be much lower still. There would still be other things that could go wrong, but you do what you can to minimize the risk, and you learn as you go. Anyone signing up for this will be fully aware of the risk.

    Reply
  165. Historic missions were a brand new untested design for each mission. SpaceX is going to thoroughly test the BFR/BFS near Earth before sending it anywhere and will use the same well-tested design each time. That doesn’t mean the first 2-3 missions can’t fail. Mars is still far away and different enough from cislunar space that things can still go wrong. But their chances are much higher than historic and those first missions would be unmanned. Once they work out the kinks the chance of BFS failure would be much lower still. There would still be other things that could go wrong but you do what you can to minimize the risk and you learn as you go. Anyone signing up for this will be fully aware of the risk.

    Reply
  166. Is this with or without the SEC lawsuit just filed against Musk and soon, Tesla? Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for fraud, according to court documents filed Thursday. Sources close to the company told CNBC the company was also expecting to be sued, though Tesla was not named as a defendant in the complaint. The SEC plans to hold a press conference at 5 pm E.T. Shares of the automaker fell roughly 10 percent in extended trading Thursday. cnb.cx/2xL903G

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  167. Is this with or without the SEC lawsuit just filed against Musk and soon Tesla?Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for fraud according to court documents filed Thursday. Sources close to the company told CNBC the company was also expecting to be sued though Tesla was not named as a defendant in the complaint.The SEC plans to hold a press conference at 5 pm E.T. Shares of the automaker fell roughly 10 percent in extended trading Thursday.cnb.cx/2xL903G

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  168. SpaceX is financially sound on its own, but as I’ve said before, I do hope there’s a good corporate firewall between SpaceX and Tesla.

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  169. SpaceX is financially sound on its own but as I’ve said before I do hope there’s a good corporate firewall between SpaceX and Tesla.

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  170. SpaceX is financially sound on its own, but as I’ve said before, I do hope there’s a good corporate firewall between SpaceX and Tesla.

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  171. SpaceX is financially sound on its own but as I’ve said before I do hope there’s a good corporate firewall between SpaceX and Tesla.

    Reply
  172. Is this with or without the SEC lawsuit just filed against Musk and soon, Tesla? Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for fraud, according to court documents filed Thursday. Sources close to the company told CNBC the company was also expecting to be sued, though Tesla was not named as a defendant in the complaint. The SEC plans to hold a press conference at 5 pm E.T. Shares of the automaker fell roughly 10 percent in extended trading Thursday. cnb.cx/2xL903G

    Reply
  173. Is this with or without the SEC lawsuit just filed against Musk and soon Tesla?Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for fraud according to court documents filed Thursday. Sources close to the company told CNBC the company was also expecting to be sued though Tesla was not named as a defendant in the complaint.The SEC plans to hold a press conference at 5 pm E.T. Shares of the automaker fell roughly 10 percent in extended trading Thursday.cnb.cx/2xL903G

    Reply
  174. Is this with or without the SEC lawsuit just filed against Musk and soon, Tesla?

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for fraud, according to court documents filed Thursday. Sources close to the company told CNBC the company was also expecting to be sued, though Tesla was not named as a defendant in the complaint.

    The SEC plans to hold a press conference at 5 pm E.T. Shares of the automaker fell roughly 10 percent in extended trading Thursday.

    cnb.cx/2xL903G

    Reply
  175. Historic missions were a brand new, untested design for each mission. SpaceX is going to thoroughly test the BFR/BFS near Earth before sending it anywhere, and will use the same well-tested design each time. That doesn’t mean the first 2-3 missions can’t fail. Mars is still far away, and different enough from cislunar space that things can still go wrong. But their chances are much higher than historic, and those first missions would be unmanned. Once they work out the kinks, the chance of BFS failure would be much lower still. There would still be other things that could go wrong, but you do what you can to minimize the risk, and you learn as you go. Anyone signing up for this will be fully aware of the risk.

    Reply
  176. Historic missions were a brand new untested design for each mission. SpaceX is going to thoroughly test the BFR/BFS near Earth before sending it anywhere and will use the same well-tested design each time. That doesn’t mean the first 2-3 missions can’t fail. Mars is still far away and different enough from cislunar space that things can still go wrong. But their chances are much higher than historic and those first missions would be unmanned. Once they work out the kinks the chance of BFS failure would be much lower still. There would still be other things that could go wrong but you do what you can to minimize the risk and you learn as you go. Anyone signing up for this will be fully aware of the risk.

    Reply
  177. A huge asteroid, sure; You wouldn’t have to throw enough material up to make a new moon to threaten colonies, you’d just have to have a significant infall of meteors to make life hazardous unless the entire colony were buried deep, not dependent on any surface installations. But I had in mind more human threats like a pandemic disease or nuclear war; As I’ve remarked before, the distance between Earth and Mars serves as a natural quarantine.

    Reply
  178. A huge asteroid sure; You wouldn’t have to throw enough material up to make a new moon to threaten colonies you’d just have to have a significant infall of meteors to make life hazardous unless the entire colony were buried deep not dependent on any surface installations. But I had in mind more human threats like a pandemic disease or nuclear war; As I’ve remarked before the distance between Earth and Mars serves as a natural quarantine.

    Reply
  179. Are you talking about events such as a gamma ray bursts, solar magaflare, huge asteroid(200 miles across) or something similar? Those are the only things I can foresee that would take out the Moon as well(in the asteroid case, it will be shrapnel from the Earth’s crust flying off into space and creating a second moon. Now, it’s still not an ideal lifeboat since, there is no atmosphere at all(Mars at least has enough of an atmosphere to trap some heat at night, and enough pressure for liquid water to exist at some points during some parts of the year, Hellas Planitia sits low enough that pressure there probably exceeds 1250Pa, and temperatures of 80f are possible.). Also, the moon lacks the CO2 ice, and the extensive water-ice from the poles. Soil is unsuitable for growing plants. Alas, a settlement would probably still work well there. For the most part, it’s easier to send supplies, communication doesn’t take as long, well-established designs for other space missions would likely work on the Moon(you could build a surface base from ISS-derived parts, as long as you can land them).

    Reply
  180. Are you talking about events such as a gamma ray bursts solar magaflare huge asteroid(200 miles across) or something similar? Those are the only things I can foresee that would take out the Moon as well(in the asteroid case it will be shrapnel from the Earth’s crust flying off into space and creating a second moon.Now it’s still not an ideal lifeboat since there is no atmosphere at all(Mars at least has enough of an atmosphere to trap some heat at night and enough pressure for liquid water to exist at some points during some parts of the year Hellas Planitia sits low enough that pressure there probably exceeds 1250Pa and temperatures of 80f are possible.). Also the moon lacks the CO2 ice and the extensive water-ice from the poles. Soil is unsuitable for growing plants.Alas a settlement would probably still work well there. For the most part it’s easier to send supplies communication doesn’t take as long well-established designs for other space missions would likely work on the Moon(you could build a surface base from ISS-derived parts as long as you can land them).

    Reply
  181. Okay, so they have capability to produce 400 engines per year, enough for 10 BFR + BFS per year. Each BFR+BFS can be re-used 10 times before major refurb is needed(based on Falcon 9 B5 / Falcon Heavy goals). 10 BFS+BFR * 10 launches = 100 launches per year. So, SpaceX can theoretically do 100 launches per year. 100 launches per year of a ship that can do 100 Tonnes to Mars with in-orbit refueling, means about Mars payloads per year, assuming one-fifth of those are colonists(the other four-fifths are supplies), and each ship can carry 40 colonists, you can send 400 colonists per year. Assuming SpaceX starts in 2024, that gives them 4 years for Mars Base Alpha to be operational, by then there will be 1600 permanent colonists living on Mars. If the graphic from the 2017 announcement is still true, first cargo missions start in 2022, with first crewed mission in 2024, so this timeline makes sense. Where my estimate goes wrong IMO is that I have assumed that 100% of their resources are going to the Mars base, which is BS, because they have already said that BFR will replace F9/FH for trips to the Moon, delivering cargo to the ISS, and also serve for Earth-to-Earth transport.

    Reply
  182. Okay so they have capability to produce 400 engines per year enough for 10 BFR + BFS per year.Each BFR+BFS can be re-used 10 times before major refurb is needed(based on Falcon 9 B5 / Falcon Heavy goals).10 BFS+BFR * 10 launches = 100 launches per year.So SpaceX can theoretically do 100 launches per year.100 launches per year of a ship that can do 100 Tonnes to Mars with in-orbit refueling means about Mars payloads per year assuming one-fifth of those are colonists(the other four-fifths are supplies) and each ship can carry 40 colonists you can send 400 colonists per year.Assuming SpaceX starts in 2024 that gives them 4 years for Mars Base Alpha to be operational by then there will be 1600 permanent colonists living on Mars. If the graphic from the 2017 announcement is still true first cargo missions start in 2022 with first crewed mission in 2024 so this timeline makes sense.Where my estimate goes wrong IMO is that I have assumed that 100{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of their resources are going to the Mars base which is BS because they have already said that BFR will replace F9/FH for trips to the Moon delivering cargo to the ISS and also serve for Earth-to-Earth transport.

    Reply
  183. Historic missions were a brand new, untested design for each mission. SpaceX is going to thoroughly test the BFR/BFS near Earth before sending it anywhere, and will use the same well-tested design each time. That doesn’t mean the first 2-3 missions can’t fail. Mars is still far away, and different enough from cislunar space that things can still go wrong. But their chances are much higher than historic, and those first missions would be unmanned. Once they work out the kinks, the chance of BFS failure would be much lower still. There would still be other things that could go wrong, but you do what you can to minimize the risk, and you learn as you go. Anyone signing up for this will be fully aware of the risk.

    Reply
  184. A huge asteroid, sure; You wouldn’t have to throw enough material up to make a new moon to threaten colonies, you’d just have to have a significant infall of meteors to make life hazardous unless the entire colony were buried deep, not dependent on any surface installations.

    But I had in mind more human threats like a pandemic disease or nuclear war; As I’ve remarked before, the distance between Earth and Mars serves as a natural quarantine.

    Reply
  185. Are you talking about events such as a gamma ray bursts, solar magaflare, huge asteroid(200 miles across) or something similar? Those are the only things I can foresee that would take out the Moon as well(in the asteroid case, it will be shrapnel from the Earth’s crust flying off into space and creating a second moon.

    Now, it’s still not an ideal lifeboat since, there is no atmosphere at all(Mars at least has enough of an atmosphere to trap some heat at night, and enough pressure for liquid water to exist at some points during some parts of the year, Hellas Planitia sits low enough that pressure there probably exceeds 1250Pa, and temperatures of 80f are possible.). Also, the moon lacks the CO2 ice, and the extensive water-ice from the poles. Soil is unsuitable for growing plants.

    Alas, a settlement would probably still work well there. For the most part, it’s easier to send supplies, communication doesn’t take as long, well-established designs for other space missions would likely work on the Moon(you could build a surface base from ISS-derived parts, as long as you can land them).

    Reply
  186. Okay, so they have capability to produce 400 engines per year, enough for 10 BFR + BFS per year.
    Each BFR+BFS can be re-used 10 times before major refurb is needed(based on Falcon 9 B5 / Falcon Heavy goals).
    10 BFS+BFR * 10 launches = 100 launches per year.

    So, SpaceX can theoretically do 100 launches per year.

    100 launches per year of a ship that can do 100 Tonnes to Mars with in-orbit refueling, means about Mars payloads per year, assuming one-fifth of those are colonists(the other four-fifths are supplies), and each ship can carry 40 colonists, you can send 400 colonists per year.

    Assuming SpaceX starts in 2024, that gives them 4 years for Mars Base Alpha to be operational, by then there will be 1600 permanent colonists living on Mars. If the graphic from the 2017 announcement is still true, first cargo missions start in 2022, with first crewed mission in 2024, so this timeline makes sense.

    Where my estimate goes wrong IMO is that I have assumed that 100% of their resources are going to the Mars base, which is BS, because they have already said that BFR will replace F9/FH for trips to the Moon, delivering cargo to the ISS, and also serve for Earth-to-Earth transport.

    Reply
  187. Not even slightly. ” I am stating that the link between exposure and cancer statistically inconclusive and most likely nonexistent ” & ” I think radiation hormesis is a ‘tough sell’ – actually complete BS ” Both opinions of yours I’ve quotes have the factual validity of a firm belief in Phlogiston.

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  188. Not even slightly. I am stating that the link between exposure and cancer statistically inconclusive and most likely nonexistent “” & “””” I think radiation hormesis is a ‘tough sell’ – actually complete BS “”””Both opinions of yours I’ve quotes have the factual validity of a firm belief in Phlogiston.”””

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  189. Being on Mars doesn’t change the mass.” Pity really. Interstellar travel would be much easier if we could accelerate objects based on their weight rather than their mass.

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  190. Being on Mars doesn’t change the mass.””Pity really. Interstellar travel would be much easier if we could accelerate objects based on their weight rather than their mass.”””

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  191. Annoying pedantry: “Supposedly life has been around for about 500M years.” Actually there is fossil evidence going back 7 to 8 times as long. To quote wikipedia “The earliest life on Earth existed more than 3.5 billion years ago.” Google “Eoarchean”. It’s MULTICELLULAR life that didn’t appear until about 500 million years ago. Or maybe 600 million. There are still debates about what various fossils mean and the exact definition of “multicellular”.

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  192. Annoying pedantry: Supposedly life has been around for about 500M years.””Actually there is fossil evidence going back 7 to 8 times as long. To quote wikipedia “”””The earliest life on Earth existed more than 3.5 billion years ago.””””Google “”””Eoarchean””””.It’s MULTICELLULAR life that didn’t appear until about 500 million years ago. Or maybe 600 million. There are still debates about what various fossils mean and the exact definition of “”””multicellular””””.”””

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  193. Sovereignty in Antarctica would have no effect on the validity of any patented technology developed there. You’d get an international patent anyway.

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  194. Sovereignty in Antarctica would have no effect on the validity of any patented technology developed there. You’d get an international patent anyway.

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  195. It has oil, it has minerals — things people want. Everyone knows they can only get it by winning a war they likely can’t, that’s why no one tries.

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  196. It has oil it has minerals — things people want. Everyone knows they can only get it by winning a war they likely can’t that’s why no one tries.

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  197. will share the characteristic that all other successful non-scientific space ventures have – they make a profit “” “””

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  198. The treaty wouldn’t have been needed if nobody wanted it. Antarctica actually has substantial valuable natural resources, and could be profitably colonized *if you were allowed to exploit them*.

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  199. The treaty wouldn’t have been needed if nobody wanted it. Antarctica actually has substantial valuable natural resources and could be profitably colonized *if you were allowed to exploit them*.

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  200. Well, if everyone with a stake in SpaceX wants all their return on investment to be Martian real estate, I wish them luck. Regardless, 98% of what SpaceX builds is more useful without the time/distance or the gravity well and will share the characteristic that all other successful non-scientific space ventures have – they make a profit.

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  201. Well if everyone with a stake in SpaceX wants all their return on investment to be Martian real estate I wish them luck.Regardless 98{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of what SpaceX builds is more useful without the time/distance or the gravity well and will share the characteristic that all other successful non-scientific space ventures have – they make a profit.

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  202. > ” Carbonaceous type asteroids are up to 20% water and carbon …” True, but I think Moon mining is easier, so I expect it to happen sooner. Moon water (and oxides, optionally) plus Earth carbon gives methalox just as well, though at the extra cost of launching and delivering carbon.

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  203. > Carbonaceous type asteroids are up to 20{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} water and carbon …””True”” but I think Moon mining is easier so I expect it to happen sooner. Moon water (and oxides optionally) plus Earth carbon gives methalox just as well”” though at the extra cost of launching and delivering carbon.”””

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  204. Given that SpaceX has built rockets before, their schedule for building the next one is likely more solid. But putting people on Mars requires a lot of new hardware development that they haven’t done before. That’s where I see a lot of possible delays. In the mean time, they can be flying the BFR for paying customers, or their own Skylink network, to provide income for payload development.

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  205. Given that SpaceX has built rockets before their schedule for building the next one is likely more solid. But putting people on Mars requires a lot of new hardware development that they haven’t done before. That’s where I see a lot of possible delays. In the mean time they can be flying the BFR for paying customers or their own Skylink network to provide income for payload development.

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  206. > Elon is starting to show more interest for the Moon these days. Actually, Gwynne Shotwell has been talking about “refueling stations” to enable accessing the whole solar system. Carbonaceous type asteroids are up to 20% water and carbon compounds. Those can be reformed to methane and oxygen, thus refueling the BFR. With a network of refueling stations, the vehicle can go anywhere, in principle.

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  207. > Elon is starting to show more interest for the Moon these days.Actually Gwynne Shotwell has been talking about refueling stations”” to enable accessing the whole solar system. Carbonaceous type asteroids are up to 20{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} water and carbon compounds. Those can be reformed to methane and oxygen”” thus refueling the BFR. With a network of refueling stations the vehicle can go anywhere”” in principle.”””

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  208. > But NEO’s offer the same resources at (ballpark) a tenth the cost. The composition of NEO’s and the various parts of the Asteroid Belt are different, due to their origins at varying distances from the Sun, and later evolution. That may be sufficient reason to mine different locations.

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  209. > But NEO’s offer the same resources at (ballpark) a tenth the cost. The composition of NEO’s and the various parts of the Asteroid Belt are different due to their origins at varying distances from the Sun and later evolution. That may be sufficient reason to mine different locations.

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  210. > then perhaps you can enlighten me. How does the Colony sustain itself? By a combination of Seed Factories and trade. A Seed Factory is a starter set of machines, like lathe, milling machine, etc. It is used to make *more* machines using locally-mined resources. This is easy on Mars, because various rovers have driven past metallic meteorites just sitting around on the surface. This gives you a supply of steel to feed the machine tools. The expanded set of machines produces a wider range of materials and products. Some of those can be traded to other places in space. Mars won’t be colonized in isolation. Asteroids and the Moon have different “ores” than Mars, and trade will naturally evolve between them. Around 1-2% of stuff won’t be produced locally. That includes materials too rare to mine locally, and parts too complicated to make, like computer chips. Those will still come from Earth. But the space economy is already profitable, with a GSP (gross space product) of $350B a year. Those revenues can pay for the needed supplies from Earth.

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  211. > then perhaps you can enlighten me. How does the Colony sustain itself?By a combination of Seed Factories and trade. A Seed Factory is a starter set of machines like lathe milling machine etc. It is used to make *more* machines using locally-mined resources. This is easy on Mars because various rovers have driven past metallic meteorites just sitting around on the surface. This gives you a supply of steel to feed the machine tools.The expanded set of machines produces a wider range of materials and products. Some of those can be traded to other places in space. Mars won’t be colonized in isolation. Asteroids and the Moon have different ores”” than Mars”” and trade will naturally evolve between them.Around 1-2{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of stuff won’t be produced locally. That includes materials too rare to mine locally and parts too complicated to make like computer chips. Those will still come from Earth. But the space economy is already profitable”” with a GSP (gross space product) of $350B a year. Those revenues can pay for the needed supplies from Earth.”””

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  212. IMO – as a layperson skeptic – is that probabilities for cancer increase as the number of damage/healing cycles increases. If you smoke, you are continually damaging lung tissue and it is continually healing with cells replicating. If you are drinking daily, you are continually damaging liver tissue and it is continually healing with cells replicating. If you are routinely getting sunburn then your skin is routinely healing from damage with cells replicating. Chemical exposures – ditto. The more you ask your cells to replicate to repair clinical, macroscopic bulk damage, the higher the chances of errors (cancer). Now, don’t ask me why nobody gets small intestine cancer when the lining of the small intestine is replaced every 4 days.

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  213. IMO – as a layperson skeptic – is that probabilities for cancer increase as the number of damage/healing cycles increases. If you smoke you are continually damaging lung tissue and it is continually healing with cells replicating. If you are drinking daily you are continually damaging liver tissue and it is continually healing with cells replicating. If you are routinely getting sunburn then your skin is routinely healing from damage with cells replicating. Chemical exposures – ditto. The more you ask your cells to replicate to repair clinical macroscopic bulk damage the higher the chances of errors (cancer). Now don’t ask me why nobody gets small intestine cancer when the lining of the small intestine is replaced every 4 days.

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  214. Still doesn’t mean that anyone should take excess dose. The LNT simplifies tracking, enforcement, regulation and radiation protection. It is actually not difficult to adhere to ALARA principals at a power station with clad fuel.

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  215. Still doesn’t mean that anyone should take excess dose. The LNT simplifies tracking enforcement regulation and radiation protection. It is actually not difficult to adhere to ALARA principals at a power station with clad fuel.

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  216. Dude… cancer rates are high to begin with – among all walks of life all over the planet. The sample population of people exposed to acute radiation dose is exceedingly small such that the statistics derived are questionable. My questioning attitude, which you pathologically call ‘pathological skepticism’ leads me to form the opinion that RADIATION IS NOT CARCINOGENIC. So while others form conspiracy theories about whatever pet cause, I simply question a pillar of a notoriously nebulous field of study – the incidence of cancer among those that have been irradiated. We’ve all been irradiated by background and 1 in 3 of us develop cancer anyway. Not only do I think radiation hormesis is a ‘tough sell’ – actually complete BS – I am stating that the link between exposure and cancer statistically inconclusive and most likely nonexistent.

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  217. Dude… cancer rates are high to begin with – among all walks of life all over the planet. The sample population of people exposed to acute radiation dose is exceedingly small such that the statistics derived are questionable. My questioning attitude which you pathologically call ‘pathological skepticism’ leads me to form the opinion that RADIATION IS NOT CARCINOGENIC. So while others form conspiracy theories about whatever pet cause I simply question a pillar of a notoriously nebulous field of study – the incidence of cancer among those that have been irradiated. We’ve all been irradiated by background and 1 in 3 of us develop cancer anyway. Not only do I think radiation hormesis is a ‘tough sell’ – actually complete BS – I am stating that the link between exposure and cancer statistically inconclusive and most likely nonexistent.

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  218. Consider that for this application only the fin leading-edge might benefit from being a fairly narrow bluff radius. The trailing edge might well be boattail. And the pads fold.

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  219. Consider that for this application only the fin leading-edge might benefit from being a fairly narrow bluff radius. The trailing edge might well be boattail. And the pads fold.

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  220. Nice utopia. But perhaps first you should talk to the National Science Foundation. You could help them turn Antarctica’s South Pole Station into a money maker rather than a money sink, “on patents alone”! 😉 Travelers to the Asteroid Belt may well refuel from Mars orbit, so there’s something Mars can sell. But NEO’s offer the same resources at (ballpark) a tenth the cost. And prospectors may well go sunward first.

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  221. Nice utopia.But perhaps first you should talk to the National Science Foundation. You could help them turn Antarctica’s South Pole Station into a money maker rather than a money sink on patents alone””! ;)Travelers to the Asteroid Belt may well refuel from Mars orbit”””” so there’s something Mars can sell. But NEO’s offer the same resources at (ballpark) a tenth the cost. And prospectors may well go sunward first.”””

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  222. It’s like you have not the first clue what this about” – then perhaps you can enlighten me. How does the Colony sustain itself? I assume that they will need some kind of economy, so that when the gizmo breaks in the watermaker, the Colony will have enough wealth to buy a new one & transport it to Mars. After all, it’s not like Elon’s pockets are bottomless or that he doesn’t expect to get his money back. So unless that ticket price includes not just the transportation cost to get to Mars, but the infrastructure cost to sustain you for the rest of your life, how does it work? Because I think that would be a pretty pricey ticket.

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  223. It’s like you have not the first clue what this about”” – then perhaps you can enlighten me. How does the Colony sustain itself? I assume that they will need some kind of economy”” so that when the gizmo breaks in the watermaker the Colony will have enough wealth to buy a new one & transport it to Mars. After all it’s not like Elon’s pockets are bottomless or that he doesn’t expect to get his money back.So unless that ticket price includes not just the transportation cost to get to Mars but the infrastructure cost to sustain you for the rest of your life”” how does it work? Because I think that would be a pretty pricey ticket.”””

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  224. I don’t think the report was going to ‘prove’ hormesis, but it was going to contradict the LNT model. Supposedly life has been around for about 500M years. All the Oklos should have been subcritical by then. All the other primordial nuclides have longer half lives than 235U. So, I don’t believe it is accurate to claim that life developed during a period where the background environmental dose was significantly higher. It may have been higher, but of similar magnitude. IMO the hormesis idea is simply an indication that incidence of cancer is fully independent of dose – this would imply that the general consensus or publicly known ‘fact’ that radiation causes cancer is actually not a fact and is wrong. Radiation can kill you with acute dose. Radiation can cure you with acute local dose by cooking tumors locally and doing it slowly enough that the spleen and kidneys can clean up the mess. The only known effect of radiation on biological tissue leaving tracks of ions – that is damage. I’ve always though hormesis was total BS – just spooky statistics. Look for coincidences and you’ll find them. In the case of hormesis the coincidence is false – the incidence of cancer and radiation exposure are simply unrelated in contrary to popular knowledge.

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  225. I don’t think the report was going to ‘prove’ hormesis but it was going to contradict the LNT model.Supposedly life has been around for about 500M years. All the Oklos should have been subcritical by then. All the other primordial nuclides have longer half lives than 235U. So I don’t believe it is accurate to claim that life developed during a period where the background environmental dose was significantly higher. It may have been higher but of similar magnitude. IMO the hormesis idea is simply an indication that incidence of cancer is fully independent of dose – this would imply that the general consensus or publicly known ‘fact’ that radiation causes cancer is actually not a fact and is wrong. Radiation can kill you with acute dose. Radiation can cure you with acute local dose by cooking tumors locally and doing it slowly enough that the spleen and kidneys can clean up the mess. The only known effect of radiation on biological tissue leaving tracks of ions – that is damage. I’ve always though hormesis was total BS – just spooky statistics. Look for coincidences and you’ll find them. In the case of hormesis the coincidence is false – the incidence of cancer and radiation exposure are simply unrelated in contrary to popular knowledge.

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  226. I don’t have any numbers on the size of the feet planned for the BFR, but 3 feet seems a bit large given aerodynamic considerations for the fins.

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  227. I don’t have any numbers on the size of the feet planned for the BFR but 3 feet seems a bit large given aerodynamic considerations for the fins.

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  228. Not the least bit loony; You have to remember that, because of radioactive decay, our fundamental biology evolved in an environment with a lot more natural radiation than today. Sure, we’re probably evolving towards being adapted to lower radiation, but since the radiation is dropping all the time, evolution is chasing a moving target here. Anyway, the long term low dose radiation study got terminated just before issuing it’s report, towards the end of the Obama administration. Rumors are it’s because they were going to report that radiation hormesis was proven, and for political reasons the administration didn’t want to give up on the LNT model, it would have really pissed off the watermelons.

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  229. Not the least bit loony; You have to remember that because of radioactive decay our fundamental biology evolved in an environment with a lot more natural radiation than today. Sure we’re probably evolving towards being adapted to lower radiation but since the radiation is dropping all the time evolution is chasing a moving target here.Anyway the long term low dose radiation study got terminated just before issuing it’s report towards the end of the Obama administration. Rumors are it’s because they were going to report that radiation hormesis was proven and for political reasons the administration didn’t want to give up on the LNT model it would have really pissed off the watermelons.

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  230. Not even slightly.

    ” I am stating that the link between exposure and cancer statistically inconclusive and most likely nonexistent ” & ” I think radiation hormesis is a ‘tough sell’ – actually complete BS ”

    Both opinions of yours I’ve quotes have the factual validity of a firm belief in Phlogiston.

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  231. Ask yourself this, why do they need to make any profit selling Mars stuff on Earth when Musk is intent on doing it out of first SpaceX’s profits, and then settlers paying their own way in return for a chunk of Mars? It’s like you have not the first clue what this about, it’s not about trading with Earth, it’s not predicated on that or limited by success in doing that.

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  232. Ask yourself this why do they need to make any profit selling Mars stuff on Earth when Musk is intent on doing it out of first SpaceX’s profits and then settlers paying their own way in return for a chunk of Mars?It’s like you have not the first clue what this about it’s not about trading with Earth it’s not predicated on that or limited by success in doing that.

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  233. Annoying pedantry: “Supposedly life has been around for about 500M years.”

    Actually there is fossil evidence going back 7 to 8 times as long. To quote wikipedia “The earliest life on Earth existed more than 3.5 billion years ago.”

    Google “Eoarchean”.

    It’s MULTICELLULAR life that didn’t appear until about 500 million years ago. Or maybe 600 million. There are still debates about what various fossils mean and the exact definition of “multicellular”.

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  234. it’s a tough sell – probably more of a Schrodinger’s cat kind of thing where they looked inside the Box and cancer rates were 40% lower in this case. Besides killing off old cells which doesn’t sound particularly healthy, hormesis is a loony idea…. uncomfortable fringe science best left unmentioned

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  235. it’s a tough sell – probably more of a Schrodinger’s cat kind of thing where they looked inside the Box and cancer rates were 40{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} lower in this case.Besides killing off old cells which doesn’t sound particularly healthy hormesis is a loony idea…. uncomfortable fringe science best left unmentioned

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  236. ” will share the characteristic that all other successful non-scientific space ventures have – they make a profit ” <-- They have a return on investment which satisfies their investors. I think the first people to Mars are in the best position to pick the best spots, and a place with the area of roughly the dry lad area of Earth is likely to have some very valuable spots.

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  237. ” cancer rates are high to begin with ” <-- And that is why a 5% increase is as negligible as it is. " The sample population of people exposed to acute radiation dose " <-- Has no meaning, because this is not an acute dose. " My questioning attitude, which you pathologically call 'pathological skepticism " <-- Because it is skepticism based on nothing except a refusal to deal with reality. " I am stating that the link between exposure and cancer statistically inconclusive and most likely nonexistent " <-- Like I said. you are almost a caricature of a troll, don't think Rickover would have thought much good of that. " We've all been irradiated by background and 1 in 3 of us develop cancer anyway. " <-- It's because animals raised in deliberately radiation free environments are not as healthy as ones raised in the control environments. Ones raised in high radiation environments don't do so well either, they get more cancer. Hormeosis is not a "tough sell" to those in possession of the facts and those not gripped by pathological skepticism.

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  238. Well, if everyone with a stake in SpaceX wants all their return on investment to be Martian real estate, I wish them luck.
    Regardless, 98% of what SpaceX builds is more useful without the time/distance or the gravity well and will share the characteristic that all other successful non-scientific space ventures have – they make a profit.

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  239. ” How does the Colony sustain itself? ” <-- Why does it necessarily require more than the several trillion per year Musk and SpaceX seem prepared and at that point able to dump into it? When the BFR is a mature system $500k ill get a 200lb settler and 2000lbs to Mars at no loss to SpaceX, it covers all their costs. More would be profit. It rather looks like Musk and Company, SpaceX and it's private long term investors are in this for the very long haul, they want a chunk of the planet.

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  240. Isn’t there empirical evidence for hormesis? The whole ‘korean apartment building with radioactive cobalt in the concrete where cancer rates were 40% lower for 15 years’ kinda thing?

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  241. Isn’t there empirical evidence for hormesis? The whole ‘korean apartment building with radioactive cobalt in the concrete where cancer rates were 40{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} lower for 15 years’ kinda thing?

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  242. > ” Carbonaceous type asteroids are up to 20% water and carbon …”

    True, but I think Moon mining is easier, so I expect it to happen sooner. Moon water (and oxides, optionally) plus Earth carbon gives methalox just as well, though at the extra cost of launching and delivering carbon.

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  243. Given that SpaceX has built rockets before, their schedule for building the next one is likely more solid. But putting people on Mars requires a lot of new hardware development that they haven’t done before. That’s where I see a lot of possible delays. In the mean time, they can be flying the BFR for paying customers, or their own Skylink network, to provide income for payload development.

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  244. > Elon is starting to show more interest for the Moon these days.

    Actually, Gwynne Shotwell has been talking about “refueling stations” to enable accessing the whole solar system. Carbonaceous type asteroids are up to 20% water and carbon compounds. Those can be reformed to methane and oxygen, thus refueling the BFR. With a network of refueling stations, the vehicle can go anywhere, in principle.

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  245. > But NEO’s offer the same resources at (ballpark) a tenth the cost.

    The composition of NEO’s and the various parts of the Asteroid Belt are different, due to their origins at varying distances from the Sun, and later evolution. That may be sufficient reason to mine different locations.

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  246. > then perhaps you can enlighten me. How does the Colony sustain itself?

    By a combination of Seed Factories and trade. A Seed Factory is a starter set of machines, like lathe, milling machine, etc. It is used to make *more* machines using locally-mined resources. This is easy on Mars, because various rovers have driven past metallic meteorites just sitting around on the surface. This gives you a supply of steel to feed the machine tools.

    The expanded set of machines produces a wider range of materials and products. Some of those can be traded to other places in space. Mars won’t be colonized in isolation. Asteroids and the Moon have different “ores” than Mars, and trade will naturally evolve between them.

    Around 1-2% of stuff won’t be produced locally. That includes materials too rare to mine locally, and parts too complicated to make, like computer chips. Those will still come from Earth. But the space economy is already profitable, with a GSP (gross space product) of $350B a year. Those revenues can pay for the needed supplies from Earth.

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  247. IMO – as a layperson skeptic – is that probabilities for cancer increase as the number of damage/healing cycles increases. If you smoke, you are continually damaging lung tissue and it is continually healing with cells replicating. If you are drinking daily, you are continually damaging liver tissue and it is continually healing with cells replicating. If you are routinely getting sunburn then your skin is routinely healing from damage with cells replicating. Chemical exposures – ditto. The more you ask your cells to replicate to repair clinical, macroscopic bulk damage, the higher the chances of errors (cancer). Now, don’t ask me why nobody gets small intestine cancer when the lining of the small intestine is replaced every 4 days.

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  248. Still doesn’t mean that anyone should take excess dose. The LNT simplifies tracking, enforcement, regulation and radiation protection. It is actually not difficult to adhere to ALARA principals at a power station with clad fuel.

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  249. Dude… cancer rates are high to begin with – among all walks of life all over the planet. The sample population of people exposed to acute radiation dose is exceedingly small such that the statistics derived are questionable. My questioning attitude, which you pathologically call ‘pathological skepticism’ leads me to form the opinion that RADIATION IS NOT CARCINOGENIC. So while others form conspiracy theories about whatever pet cause, I simply question a pillar of a notoriously nebulous field of study – the incidence of cancer among those that have been irradiated. We’ve all been irradiated by background and 1 in 3 of us develop cancer anyway. Not only do I think radiation hormesis is a ‘tough sell’ – actually complete BS – I am stating that the link between exposure and cancer statistically inconclusive and most likely nonexistent.

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  250. Nice utopia.
    But perhaps first you should talk to the National Science Foundation. You could help them turn Antarctica’s South Pole Station into a money maker rather than a money sink, “on patents alone”! 😉
    Travelers to the Asteroid Belt may well refuel from Mars orbit, so there’s something Mars can sell. But NEO’s offer the same resources at (ballpark) a tenth the cost. And prospectors may well go sunward first.

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