SpaceX, The Journey to Mars.

SpaceX, The Journey to Mars.

Well, it’s another afternoon in a typical African homestead.
The dad is constantly calling for you in your room (which is like a kilometer from the living room where he is) requesting you pass him the remote a few inches away from him.

So much for requesting by the way, because really do you have an option.

The younger siblings are a constant pain in the ass then there’s the older one’s busy pep-talking you on how you shouldn’t be frustrated by the dad but rather obey and submit like how they did at your age.
Excuse me, grandma, we were literally in diapers together for goodness sake.

Then finally, there’s the mum.
The sweet perfectionist mum.

Always needing you to clean the utensils till the last bacteria is down. And so with all this enigma you just wish you were 150 million kilometers away. Ok, technically you’d be on the corona, the sun’s atmosphere, and would be instantly vaporized. But wouldn’t that even be better? Just kidding.

What if there was a way for you to be 55 million kilometers away instead. Well, there could be a way sooner than you could imagine, a dream that could probably come true, thanks to Elon Musk, founder of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) and Tesla Inc., having your best interests at heart.
How does a journey to the Red Planet sound? Thought as much.

Musk in the year 2002 founded SpaceX as he preconceived humans being a multi-planetary species. A species that doesn’t carry all its eggs in one basket but spreads out into the universe to better the odds of our species survival. So you’d imagine, yeah, why not? After all, there’s NASA, right? They do all that futuristic space stuff.
Ummm, not quite so.
It’s not that easy and here’s why. There’s a stumbling block. A huge stumbling block lies in between you and your new sweet life on Mars. Cost.

“The key to opening up space, orbit, and beyond is rapid and complete reusability.” “Reusability is absolutely fundamental to a breakthrough in access to orbit and beyond. Anything that can be done in that direction is good,” said Musk while speaking at the International Space Station Research and Design conference in Washington D.C, and definitely this is the holy grail of space.
Musk argues, using the airplane analogy, the gray area in space exploration as being very huge costs.

Imagine a world where every time an airplane moves from one airport to the next, it gets thrown away. Even for a layman, this is a completely ridiculous notion because who has all that cash to burn? Believe it or not, it’s been happening in the space industry for the longest time.
The rocket booster thrusts the payload (whatever load is being moved to orbit) to space, then reenters the earth’s atmosphere burning out and gets completely obliterated.
Musk saw this as a complete absurdity and in founding SpaceX hoped to cut down the cost of space travel, and so far, so good. After many failed attempts, in April 2016, a Falcon rocket (one of SpaceX’s) made its first landing on The Of Course I Still Love You autonomous boat, the world’s first reflight of an orbital class rocket. And trust me this marked a great leap in the company and the greater population that desires to one day become a self-sustaining interplanetary species. It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. And this is a big first step.

A Falcon rocket (one of SpaceX’s) making its first landing on The Of Course I Still Love You autonomous boat

Now you could be wondering, why? Why go through all the hustle of moving from earth to Mars, a longish 6 months?
Well apart from getting away from your vexing family, there’s the pot of gold.
Preserving consciousness.

As it stands now, we are the only conscious civilization as there has been no sign of consciousness anywhere in our solar system or even anywhere in the milky way galaxy. Therefore, consciousness is a very rare and precious thing, the crown jewel of the universe to say the least. Since life began on earth, billions of years ago, it’s been a sequential evolution, and sooner or later, in some 5.4 billion years, the sun will have expanded wide enough to engulf what we now call home and incinerate all living creatures on earth to extinction.
That is if we’ll still be here long enough.
And now thinking about this, if it took an extra 10% time for consciousness to evolve on earth, it wouldn’t evolve at all because the sun would have done its oven thing. This makes it downright necessary to find an escape route from this ticking time bomb.
“The window to be a multi-planetary species has been opened, and only now after 4.5 billion years is that window open. That’s a long time to wait and it might not stay open for long……we should become a multi-planetary species while that window is open.” Musk warned.

The average adult needs between 75 and 90 milligrams of vitamin C per day. For this vital need to be satiated, and consequently life on mars, it would take 1000 spaceships and a million tons of vitamin C to make life on Mars suitable.
Plans are underway at SpaceX to make the dream a reality. They hope to launch each of SpaceX’s reusable starship rockets about 3 times per day on average, with a hundred tons of payload on each flight and a thousand flights per year. There would be 100k tons of payload in orbit in 1 year. Make that 10 spaceships and you have yourself a megaton of the crucial payload. That would be more than enough.
Again, 1000 starships could ferry more than 100k people per Earth-Mars orbital sync, “orbital sync” just referring to an alignment of the two planets that makes it possible for interplanetary travel. The period comes along just once every 26 months.

Once all vital trials are done on the starship and it’s deemed fully ready for crew and cargo ferrying, it will be launched and like SpaceX’s all other rockets, the booster will return to earth for reuse.
Once the ship arrives in low earth orbit, a tanker gets boosted to approach it to refill the ship in a rendezvous and docking stunt. The tanker then returns to earth leaving the refueled ship to proceed its journey to Mars after which it will land on the Martian surface delivering cargo and crew.
Musk envisions a city on Mars that wouldn’t just depend on resources supplied from the earth, but a self-sustaining city. A Martian city that would still run if, for any reason, the resupply ships from earth stop coming. Vitally important to building a self-sustaining city on Mars, is the atmosphere of the Red Planet which is primarily made up of CO2, with some traces of nitrogen, argon, and a few other trace elements.
The planet is also rich in H2O although most of it is ice. CO2 and H2O can then be used as a powerhouse to produce fuel for the ship which can then allow it to make an ascend and return to earth.
That simply, or not, man would have achieved a monumental trip to Mars, the foundation of a fully self-sustaining civilization on Mars and an everlasting interplanetary human species.

Together, the starship, spacecraft, and the Superheavy rocket create a reusable transportation system capable of an orbit-refilling and leveraging Mars’ natural H2O and CO2 resources to refuel on the Martian surface.
Musk hopes that SpaceX will enable the first man to set foot on the Martian surface in 2029, which is exactly 60 years after the first successful landing on the moon. His target is 1 million people on Mars by the year 2050 and boy oh boy do I hope to make that number.

Now the big question is, what will stop you from going to Mars? Why not make the 1 million count? Wouldn’t it be a wonderful escape channel from your irksome African homestead? Cry not child, your dawn has come and dusk has gone, Musk gives you wings, cherish the bloom and fly. Touchdown!

Peace Kipsang

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