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SpaceX plans to send people to Mars using its Interplanetary Transport System

By Shawn Knight
Sep 27, 2016
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  1. SpaceX on Tuesday shared with the world its ambitious plan to send humans to another planet for the first time in history.

    In the crudest explanation, SpaceX will utilize what it’s calling the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS) to get the job done. From the beginning, astronauts and cargo will take off from a traditional launch pad using a rocket system that produces more than 28 million pounds of thrust.

    Once in a parking orbit, the rocket booster will separate from the spacecraft and head back to Earth. As we’ve seen SpaceX demonstrate multiple times now, the booster will land in an upright position where it’ll immediately be fitted with a propellant tanker and shot back into space.

    From there, the tanker will rendezvous with the spacecraft for refueling purposes. Once complete, the tanker will return home and the spacecraft will begin its journey to the Red Planet.

    In addition to the fuel, the spaceship will utilize two large solar arrays capable of supplying 200kW of power. When the craft arrives at Mars after an unannounced amount of time, it’ll land on the Red Planet in an upright position just as the company’s boosters have been landing here on Earth.

    Rather ambitious, right?

    Further details on the ITS are no doubt inbound as SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is currently holding a talk on the matter.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. Raoul Duke

    Raoul Duke TS Guru Posts: 930   +354

    Send Elon Musk, with his genius he can ensure the mission is a success. More motivation to ensure the booster doesn't explode and the Solar radiation doesn't fry his gonads. At least then he can't reproduce
     
  3. Rasta211

    Rasta211 TS Booster Posts: 209   +30

    1 way trip I'd imagine. Hopefully we can see this succeed in our lifetime.
     
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,684   +790

    Understanding the need to test any technology before chasing after it would suggest that Space-X would be wise to scale down their mission in order to prove the technology works reliably. Developing a simple settlement on the moon for instance would provide the challenges needed while being close enough to "home" for further support, if necessary. During the Apollo program we learned about the "issues" of the grey moon dust and how destructive it is on equipment, suits, etc. What if there is a similar issue on Mars? Would it not be better to explore the limits of our technology on a nearer lunar body and hammer down the issues to a point where we can be as prepared as reasonably possible before exploring further outward?

    I applaud the mans aggressive pursuit of his dreams & visions. After all, that is exactly where so many of our greatest inventions and discoveries have come from; but being able to manage one's dreams into a more realistic reality is one of the greatest keys to improving the odds of ones success. He hasen't perfected the electric car or launch & re-entry technology yet ..... can't he see he's being just a bit premature?
     
    Underdog, JayT1803 and ghostf1re like this.
  5. eXoguti097

    eXoguti097 TS Rookie

    Traveling at the speed claimed in the video, it would take a few days short of a month to get there when Earth and Mars are at their closest distance.. I never realized how close it was, it's actually amazing and I can't wait for this
     
  6. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,156   +1,431

    Not really, Rover taught us different. Dust issue on the moon is primarily due to low gravity.
     
  7. NicktheWVAHick

    NicktheWVAHick TS Enthusiast Posts: 69   +43

    $200K to explode on the launch pad? No thanks.
     
    andrewdoyle88 likes this.
  8. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,185   +530

    If he is able to establish a good reusable rocket, my next concern would be the fuel demand.
     
  9. Wendy Oltman

    Wendy Oltman TS Booster Posts: 128   +16

    It has to be a long shot. NASA has always stated they weren't ready to send Astronauts to Mars. People like Mr Zubrin who have almost thirty years put proposals to send Astronauts to Mars. NASA won't take blind risks as some would suggest.

    NASA supposedly would sent an orbital mission to Mars in about twenty years from now. Whether or not somebody does land that us further into the future.

    Musk can try. It is his money, good luck to him if he thinks he can pull of a trip that is considered science fiction for people until the dangers are seriously mitigated.
     
  10. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,684   +790

    Not sure what dust issues you are referring to but the dust issues reported by NASA were small particles that were extremely jagged and created severe erosion on all moving parts, particularly on the joints on the astronauts suits. It was later suggested this was probably the cause of "rabbit" shutting down shortly after being deployed. If you're talking about the Mars Rover, it was a much later generation device where those discoveries were used to re-engineer around the problem.
     
  11. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,156   +1,431

    It was the type of dust that would normally be on the ground, as opposed to dispersing through air (space, technically) due to low gravity.
     
  12. Capaill

    Capaill TS Addict Posts: 292   +93

    He probably just wants to be the first to put people on Mars in his lifetime and doesn't give a damn if it succeeds or not. Putting a prototype on the moon, while a very intelligent and sane idea and something a large institute like NASA could work on, is not going to get him the "First!" accolade he probably desires.
     
  13. Tanstar

    Tanstar TS Guru Posts: 410   +88

    If you are sending up humans and fuel separately, you send the fuel first (possibly months earlier) and then the humans. Otherwise they are floating up there, wasting resources for no purpose.
     
    Underdog and andrewdoyle88 like this.
  14. SergeantSam

    SergeantSam TS Rookie

    Crude.

    Welcome To The 21st Century ! American Space Experts are still playing the little boy who shot an arrow up into the sky. Duh !

    The space programs : Mercury, Gemini and Apollo were intended to supposedly make space travel commonplace.

    President Harry S. Truman kicked off NASA and gave every boy and girl in America the hope to travel and live among the stars.

    President Richard M. "Tricky ****" Nixon yanked the funding rug out from under NASA and made them essentially an expensive Smithsonian Institution exhibit.

    Space X supposedly is a private company of private investors who are working at making space travel commonplace, affordable and in the long run profitable. As a private company, they are suppose to be able to "Think Outside The Box" since they do not rely on the funds of The Criminal Clowns of Congress or Punk Presidents.

    The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bomber would carry the X-15 experimental aircraft into the upper atmosphere and the X-15 would launch off of The BUFF.

    The SR-71 "Blackbird" also known as the "Habu" would punch off the runway, create a sonic boom, use it's camera to photograph numerous sections of the globe. And The Chinese and The Soviets never blew a Blackbird out of the sky. The two man team wore Gemini spacesuits as their flightsuits.

    The B-52, X-15 and SR-71 are all 20th Century technology.

    Americans were optimistic about The Space Shuttle program until the Bicentennial Year when the Challenger incinerated in the sky.

    Now, Americans view NASA's shuttle missions as glorified celestial "18-wheeler cargo truck with wings."

    Space X's proposal is childish and uninspiring - time to go draw on the cave walls.

    Granted, the air makes it difficult to punch off the runway and gain altitude to the edge of space and, then. pedal to the metal rocket boosters to punch through the Van Allen Radiation Belts and adjust the starcraft's course for the Moon or Mars.

    First, Space X needs to find imagination along with investors and then sit down with NASA and United States Air Force retirees and realize they can evolve beyond the stone wheel and iron tools.

    "Beam me up, Scotty !"
     
  15. Tanstar

    Tanstar TS Guru Posts: 410   +88

    I agree with the gist of what you are saying, however: "Americans were optimistic about The Space Shuttle program until the Bicentennial Year when the Challenger incinerated in the sky." The Bicentennial Year was 1976 and the challenger blew up in 1986. Also: "Now, Americans view NASA's shuttle missions as glorified celestial '18-wheeler cargo truck with wings.'" The last shuttle flight was in 2011.

    So, good message, but a few factual errors.
     
  16. Wendy Oltman

    Wendy Oltman TS Booster Posts: 128   +16

    Rightly pointed. Either way, what is he gonna loose? The guy has heaps of money and none would he care if the humans sent up are not coming back.
     
  17. Raoul Duke

    Raoul Duke TS Guru Posts: 930   +354

    I am always in awe of what the USA was able to do after WW II in manufacturing, engineering, etc with things like the Saturn V, the SR-71 and so on. People working with slide rules and likely less computing power than I have in my living room for entertainment.
    With the tools we have now, I wonder where is the insanely impressive 'stuff' that it seems we should be able to create. I don't know what the problem is, no vision? too much bureaucracy? Are the bright people just made mediocre by the educational system/society? Was it simply a golden era that we will have to wait to see another one again?
    A smartphone is certainly amazing, in the 1960's STar Trek it was the 'communicator' a device of the far future and now everyone and their dog seems to have one, but their doesn't seem to be much other stuff that is amazing, at least that I know of.
     
    Wendy Oltman and Capaill like this.
  18. Wendy Oltman

    Wendy Oltman TS Booster Posts: 128   +16

    The main issue has to be with the vision. Like you rightly pointed that in those times developments of such stature were made like the aeroplane itself how amazing can it be of a creation. But now with all the access to money and technology on hand all we don't see any substantial revolutionizing invention and the it is because lack of innovativess and I am talking about in almost all fields.
     

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