Attention Space Nerds


So you think we should take our nasty polluting ways and just find a new planet?

Why don't we clean up what we have here, and learn to get along before we inflict ourselves on other places?
Jeff Bezos did this a few weeks ago…

@1 - It's not an either-or thing. Musk is thinking VERY long term here. A species that exists on only one planet is by definition doomed. Of course we should take better care of this planet (but not for the planet's sake, which is just a big rock and couldn't care less if we "pollute" it. It's only pollution from our perspective), but that doesn't mean we shouldn't also consider what's next.

@2 - No, he didn't. He landed a rocket that went to sub-orbital space. This means it went straight up, and came back down. That's hard, and a big accomplishment, but nowhere near as hard as what SpaceX is trying. To go to "space" you just go up. To go to orbit you have to go up, but more importantly you have to go sideways really, really fast.

Read the blue box here for more details on the difference.

It doesn't matter where it comes from as when it lands it still has to slow down to the same speed using the retro rockets. Saying it's different is like saying it's more complicated to dock at Seattle Harbor if the boat comes from 100 miles away than 50 miles.

Musk is an expert at taking the ordinary, calling it extraordinary and demanding superlatives and our tax dollars. A con, played over and over ...
@4 - No, sorry, but you're extremely wrong about the relative complexity of these things. Look into it.

I looked into it.

And if you know the history of the Apollo program they are functionally the same hence the Musk landing would have never been done because missions are made to advance, not repeat.

@6 - Can you please be specific about the relevant Apollo history?
Its not for me to judge Elon Musk's taste in hobbies. But this business about that hobbies relevance to the super duper long-term survival of the humans is pretty far fetched. Getting stuff into orbit is within our grasp - its flying to another place worth living in that's the problem.

If people haven't evolved into beings of pure energy by the time the sun blows up, then I reckon it'll never happen.
Anthony dear, what is the definition you are working from?
@9 - Just that if we can only ever survive here, then we're limited to here and our fate is Earth's fate. And Earth has many times before and will many times again be hit by gigantic space rocks that kill pretty much everything, for just one example. Other bad things can happen, some caused by us, some not. But in the end, without at least considering ways to spread out, this is all we got.

You're very confused.

The energies involved in reaching and then returning from orbital trajectories is a couple orders of magnitude greater than sub-orbital trajectories. With all that added energy comes a big pile of very difficult engineering problems, like, how big a rocket are you going to build to pack enough energy to achieve orbital velocity and still have enough fuel on board to get back?

(Remember, all that "extra" fuel you carry up for the return trip reduces the mass available for other things like payload or vehicle structure. What's more, the energy required to change velocities increases with the square, not linearly, so we're talking a lot more fuel for orbital vs. sub-orbital flights that you have to carry up and then back down again.)

Another thing to worry about is, how are you going to prevent your liquid fuel load from sloshing around while you reorient the spacecraft in flight? (You can't have your fuel sloshing around, as that alters your center of mass and wipes out the accuracy of your control inputs.)

If Blue Origin could do a reusable flight at orbital velocity, they'd have demonstrated as much. They haven't. SpaceX has.
They shure picked a cool name...

Aaaand they stick the landing. Bravo SpaceX!
@10 - Tardigrades FTW!
Thank you, Anthony. And thank you, Eric.

We should send him up on one of those spaceX missions. He could also be the DMF in outer space!
We've had space shuttles return from space and land on runways before, right?
@18, yes.
@4, I like your analogy but here's the same analogy with a more accurate scale. If Bezos took a personal motorboat 100 miles away and brought it back to port. Musk took the Titanic out 100 miles, sped it up to twice the speed of sound, cruised around the earth a few times then brought it back to port. Every step of the way is dramatically harder and he's doing every step with a dramatically larger and more powerful ship.

@18, We've been landing shuttles for decades. What we haven't done is land the first few stages of booster rockets that got the shuttle to space. All of those booster rockets, hundreds of millions of dollars worth of high tech equipment, have either been dropped in the ocean or allowed to burn up in the atmosphere, aside from one that was intentionally crashed into the moon. The experiments we're seeing now are an attempt to save those millions of dollars of equipment for re-use.
So this is just a link to an actual article? What a waste of time. Good job on the clickbait title though, you tricked me into reading nothing.