Elon Musk, Space Fraud?

Richard Stanley

Administrator
More proof:

At 20 seconds into the return to Earth video we see a cover on the 3:00(?) portal. Perhaps the 3:00 and 9:00 o'clock portals have been permanently covered from the outside, and this is why the one appears black in the interior shot?

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I notice that you people have avoided scrupulously talking about your theory for the physical phenomenon which prevents us all from seeing stars in the video of the alleged space docking maneuvre. It can't be diffusion by Earth's atmosphere, please explain what does it?

It would be quite helpful to your effort to discredit mr. weisbecker. And without it, you appear to be just as mr. weisbecker described you.

Cherry picking is not something needed when one is telling the truth. Surely you must agree with that?
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Hello le berger des photons,

Thanks for visiting.

For whatever it's worth, my theory about the stars is that they are very far away, and therefore much dimmer in brightness than either the Sun, or any object directly illuminated by the Sun. Indeed, they are below the threshold of brightness necessary to excite the photoreceptors in the camera, when it's adjusted to correctly expose the highlights in the image of the spacecraft.

It's exactly the same reason that you can't see stars in the daytime sky from Earth. The atmosphere is just as transparent during the day as it is at night, and the stars are still there. But, the sky is a brighter color of blue, because it's illuminated by the Sun, and the stars are too dim to see by comparison.

Does that seem at all plausible to you?

I know it might seem we're trying to discredit Allan, but we're not. We're trying to have a conversation. It's not easy when he refuses to acknowledge or respond to much of what we're saying, and when he keeps pushing these delusional arguments, and when he accuses us of being spooks. But seriously I do believe Allan's heart is in the right place, and he's right more often than not.
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Perhaps the 3:00 and 9:00 o'clock portals have been permanently covered from the outside, and this is why the one appears black in the interior shot?
OK, and that also explains why the 3:00 and 9:00 portals appear almost invisible in the docking video, to the point where I thought you were writing more satire. The question then becomes, whether a porthole that has been covered over and riveted shut, should even be called a porthole? I agree, this could explain the permanently black appearance from inside.

The splashdown portion of the 'return to earth' video, although low resolution, looks like real camera footage to me. The motions of the parachutes in the air, and the waves in the water, are highly articulated and random-looking. That sort of thing is really hard to simulate accurately, and computer animations of those types of phenomena generally look obviously fake.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
For whatever it's worth, my theory about the stars is that they are very far away, and therefore much dimmer in brightness than either the Sun, or any object directly illuminated by the Sun. Indeed, they are below the threshold of brightness necessary to excite the photoreceptors in the camera, when it's adjusted to correctly expose the highlights in the image of the spacecraft.
This is a redux of the same problem raised by the late Dave McGowan in his Moon landing analysis. The difference in the effective luminosity of our Sun to other stars is hard to imagine, until one comprehends the difference in distance. Also, because our eyes' irises help to compensate for such differences, to a smaller extent. Try using a PV solar panel inside your dwelling and see how much energy it produces from your lights. Not very much.

In the previous video, watch what happens at about 2:20. The Crew Dragon moves off to the edge of the view and the camera apparently loses control of the luminosity situation. Note all the little round objects that appear at the same time that the camera image senor goes into saturation in the area of the Crew Dragon. I'm guessing that these round objects are stars, or that's what they want us to think they are. Note that the round objects all have different intensities, just like stars.

BTW, at about 2:29 there are a couple of small, bright objects that zoom past from the lower left at about a 45 degree angle to the right.


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Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
... the booster recovery landing images look fake. They're too perfect, with the twin boosters touching down at exactly the same moment.
I looked further into this, and I've satisfied myself that the recoverable booster footage is genuine. I had thought all these landings were far out at sea. But some of them (including the double booster landing for the Falcon Heavy rocket, that I was referring to above) happened on dry land, with hundreds if not thousands of eyewitnesses. And, many of those eyewitnesses posted their own video to YouTube, so we have confirmation of the event from multiple viewpoints. Here's a compilation:


And, a nice capture of the entire flight from start to finish, with a Nikon P1000 camera (3000 mm equivalent superzoom):


I suppose it's conceivable that all this has been faked, but I can't imagine how. So I think I owe Elon Musk an apology. Allan CW will not be happy with me, but there seems to be nothing I can say that will ever satisfy him.

Is it possible I've been wrong to doubt Elon Musk's sincerity about his Mars colonization project? Hmm, let's look into that...
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Jeff Bezos and his Blue Origins company did a similar trick with their New Shepard suborbital rocket, back in Nov. 2015. In addition to the footage of the landing, what's most interesting about this video is the simulation of happy customers enjoying the ride.

 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
the ISS that's supposedly been in orbit since 1998, but might have long since crashed to earth for all we know.
Sometimes I get away with all kinds of stupid stuff on this website and nobody calls me on it. The ISS is easy to see with the naked eye, or you can take a picture of it with a telescope & a camera.

 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
..what's most interesting about this video is the simulation of happy customers enjoying the ride.
I'm going to have to broaden the topic of this thread, or else start a new one. There's a lot going on in what's been called "Space 2.0". I hardly know where to begin. But, let's have a look at the space tourism business. I have to ask whether we're looking here at priest training for the Space Jesus religion to come.

The first space tourist program was arranged by Space Adventures, Inc., which apparently arranged the deal directly with the Russians. Beginning in 2001, seven "private astronauts" went to the ISS with Space Adventures. The arrangement came to a hiatus in 2010, reportedly because of an increased need for official crew members at the ISS.

The last tourist was Guy LaLiberte, a co-founder of Cirque du Soleil. The price for his ticket was reportedly $35 million. LaLiberte used the flight to promote his charitable foundation devoted to water conservation. He hosted a two-hour variety program from the ISS, called "Moving Stars and Earth for Water". Out of the two-hour show, this brief clip from Associated Press seems to be all that's currently available.


Not to be outdone, Elon Musk in 2017 floated the idea of a ticket for a flight to the Moon, also to be priced at ~$35 million. The first ticket got snapped up by Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese fashion entrepreneur, who booked the entire flight with plans to bring along perhaps 8 or 9 friends. The flight is currently scheduled for 2023. Here's the promotional video:

 
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Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
While Musk and Space Adventures are hosting billionaire artists, two other companies are aiming to bring space tourism to the mass market.

At the moment, Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic seems to have taken the lead by flying their very first "tourist", Beth Moses, last Feb. 21, 2019. (Well, technically she's an employee, but it was "the first time a non-pilot flew on board a commercial spaceship to space.") Moses and two actual pilots went for a sub-orbital flight on the SpaceShipTwo. The success was a culmination of a long and dangerous process: three employees were killed in a 2007 oxidizer flow test explosion. The first prototype spacecraft crashed in 2014, killing one pilot. The hybrid rocket engine was redesigned several times along the way.

No matter, the company says they have 650 reservations for flight tickets at $250,000 each. "Branson said he hoped the price of a space flight would come down to around $40,000 or $50,000 over the next decade," Branson told CNBC.

But at this moment, the bargain basement operation is probably Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin. Zero Hedge speculates that their price will be $200,000, undercutting Virgin Galactic by $50K. Official pricing has not been announced and reservations are not available, but prospective astronauts can get on Blue Origin's mailing list by volunteering their contact information here. I wonder if a salesman would call.

FWIW, my guess is that Bezos will be able to maintain a cost advantage. His rocket can be reassembled and refueled for each flight, while the solid fuel portion of Branson's SpaceshipTwo appears to require something more akin to a remanufacturing process. Also, Branson's flight plan involves a boost and a drop from a host airplane, requiring its own crew for takeoff & landing, while Bezos's rocket ship proceeds in a simple arc from liftoff to touchdown.

On the other hand, the Blue Origin New Shepard spacecraft requires cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen fuels, which pose their own logistical challenges.

I was curious about the possible ecological impact of the new "space tourism" industry, so I did some rough calculations. Official figures for the New Shepard's fuel capacity have not been released. Working from an illustration at the Blue Origin website, I estimate that the fuel tank of the New Shepard is about 43 feet tall, and 9.8 feet in diameter. This would correspond to a fuel tank volume of about 90,000 liters at most, depending on the thickness of the tank walls. Applying another guesstimation, this would support a mixture of 17,000 liters of LOX (liquid oxygen) and 73,000 liters of LH2 (liquid hydrogen), depending on whether the designers chose a lean or rich fuel-oxidant ratio. This 73,000 liters would have a mass of 5100 kg, which is roughly equivalent to 5100 gallons of gasoline on a BTU-for-BTU basis.

So with 7 passengers on board the New Shepard, that's only 728 gallons per person. That's hardly enough to run an F150 truck for a year of typical driving!! Now if they can get enough flights out of these ships between engine rebuilds or crashes, I can easily see the cost coming down well below $10K per ticket.

This beats Vegas for an overprivileged First World honeymoon destination any day of the week!!

But the flight only covers about 60 miles across the West Texas desert, so we're talking 10 gallons per mile. Not MPG, but GPM.
 
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Richard Stanley

Administrator
I was going to say you're off your rocker, but then:

In 1968, Stafford stopped by Shepard's office and told him that an otologist in Los Angeles had developed a cure for Ménière's disease. Shepard flew to Los Angeles, where he met with Dr. William F. House. House proposed to open Shepard's mastoid bone and make a tiny hole in the endolymphatic sac. A small tube was inserted to drain excess fluid. The surgery was conducted in early 1969 at St. Vincent's Hospital in Los Angeles, where Shepard checked in under the pseudonym of Victor Poulos.[83][96] The surgery was successful, and he was restored to full flight status on May 7, 1969.[83]

After my having discussed the prior homage paid to the Gemini twins, Apollo, and such, now we have another Paul, a Victor no less, the original who rode on a ship, the Castor and Pollux to Rome.

Maybe all these tourist flights are just a cover story for the Big Hologram preparations.
 

Jerry Russell

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Staff member
Moon landing skeptics are always asking "why, after 50 years, we haven't gone back." Perhaps the most important reason is the spectacular failure of the Space Shuttle program. Not so much that it exploded in-flight twice in 135 flights and killed all aboard both times, although that was bad enough. The real problem was that the original mission -- low-cost space travel -- was aborted before the ship was off the drawing board.

There's nothing new about the idea that a reusable launch system should have far lower operating costs than disposable one-time-use boosters. NASA started looking into strategies for reusable rockets back in the 1960's. When the Space Shuttle program was first funded in 1972, immediately after the completion of the Apollo flights, NASA was estimating that the marginal cost of delivering a pound of payload to orbit could be as low as $100 per pound (in 1972 dollars). The original concept consisted of two winged, all-metal, fully reusable stages, as shown here:



Instead, the Shuttle was actually built with a giant disposable fuel tank, and two solid fuel booster rockets that were pulled from the ocean as bent-up salty shells that could be "reused" at greater cost than building brand new ones. The shuttle main engines required complete disassembly and re-building after each flight. The fussy system of heat shield tiles also needed continuous refurbishment. All of this was done in an inefficient cost-plus environment.

In the end, the Shuttle program costs came to $192 Billion for 135 missions, which works out to about $26,000 per pound of payload. To be fair, the total program cost included the costs some of the payloads, such as crew cabins, crew training & so forth. A paper by John Hattie says that the cost of operating the Space Shuttle rocket system (not including those 'extras') was about $10,000 per pound.

By comparison, the old Saturn V moon rocket is said to have cost $1.16 Billion per flight (adjusted to 2018 dollars) and carried 300,000 pounds to low earth orbit, which is only $3900 per pound. In terms of launch costs, the Space Shuttle was a big step backwards from the capabilities of the 1960's.
 
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Jerry Russell

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Staff member
So along comes Elon Musk in 2001, with $100 million cash profits from selling his stake in PayPal, and a stated intention to send a greenhouse to Mars. He attempted to buy some booster rockets from the Russians, but came to believe he could build the rockets cheaper himself. As we are told: on the fourth try, Musk's Falcon 1 rocket succeeded in launching a satellite into earth orbit, in 2008. This success came just as Musk had nearly burned through his entire $100 million nest egg, as well as $396 million of additional development money from NASA. And at that point, NASA was sufficiently impressed to give Musk a $1.6 billion contract, and SpaceX became a viable business.

So (assuming that there was nothing hidden behind the scenes) -- Musk's private space program got started by a combination of individual entrepreneurial vigor beyond Horatio Alger's wildest imaginings, combined with public government support at a similarly epic level. And both elements appeared to be necessary, otherwise the Falcon would've been just another cost plus fiasco like the Space Shuttle.

In addition to holding costs down by manufacturing efficiency and vertical integration, Musk set forth to make his booster rockets reusable. The Falcon 9 first stage was designed to land gently on a ship at sea, or near the originating launch pad, using its main rocket engines for reverse thrust. Small thrusters at the top of the fuel tanks help to stabilize the landing. The trick was demonstrated in December 2015, just a month after Blue Origin demonstrated their similar technology with the New Shepard.

But, the Falcon 9 second stage is still single-use. The current price of a Falcon 9 flight is said to be $62 million, with a rumored ~20% discount allowed if a reused 1st stage is acceptable. At $62 million for a 50,000 pound payload, that's $1235 per pound. Or with 7 astronauts aboard a Crew Dragon capsule, that would be less than $9 million per ticket. Such a bargain compared to $35 million that Cirque du Soleil paid to send le maitre clown to the ISS.

As the John Hattie paper explains, the key to getting costs down lower, is simply a matter of getting the flight rate up. To do this, of course, it's necessary to get all the kinks out of the process. Engines need to go a long time between overhauls, and accidents need to be few and far between.

SpaceX is currently flying about 25 flights a year. According to Hattie's graph (below): to get the costs down to $100 per pound, they need to be flying closer to 3,000 flights a year. Hattie says that $100 per pound is the cost at which space-faring civilization becomes conceivable. Although that would still put the cost of a ticket to orbit on the Dragon at about $700,000 per passenger.



The Falcon 9 runs on 23,000 gallons of RP-1 (refined kerosene) rocket fuel, or less than 3300 gallons per passenger (plus cryogenic oxidizer, of course.) So fuel costs are not going to be a factor until the flight rate gets close to 100,000 per year.

But what about environmental impact? In a recent talk about Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos mentioned that the fuel required to fly a passenger across the USA in a commercial jet is about 24 gallons.

So, sending a person to orbit has about the same carbon footprint as flying that same person across the country 137 times.
 
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Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Aside from all this talk about space tourism, Mars colonization, and the ISS: the bread and butter of the space business has always been robotic, unmanned satellites. There are said to be currently 1,900 operational satellites in various orbits around the earth, working for a variety of purposes including communications, navigation (GPS), earth observation & surveillance, astronomy, and scientific experimentation.

For any skeptics out there, the existence & functioning of some of these satellites is verifiable. "Dish Network" TV antennas are pointed at geosynchronous communications satellites, and customers can sign up for internet service with long ~250 millisecond latency caused by the distance from earth to orbit. For phone communications, Iridium Communications Inc. operates a constellation of 141 satellites in low earth orbit, which can be accessed using special handsets from anywhere on the planet. The location of an Iridium satellite can be tracked with a directional radio antenna as it flies overhead. I'd like to see flat earthers explain how this works. (Of course this is a separate issue from whether the controversial Apollo moon flights happened or not, though I happen to believe they probably did.)

With SpaceX's goal of lowering costs by increased flight rate and booster reusability, they are planning to open up a new market for high performance Internet access. They've applied to launch a huge fleet of up to 12,000 satellites in low earth orbit, each one of which is said to have the bandwidth to stream 4K video to 1,000 customers simultaneously. They are projecting annual revenues of $30 billion from this system, which seems about right if each customer is streaming 4K less than 25% of the time, meaning 50 million customers at $50 per month each. They just completed their first test flight, with 60 satellites carried into orbit by a Falcon 9. At this rate, it will take 200 launches to put their 12,000 satellite system into orbit.

All by itself, this system would put more than six times the number of currently operational satellites, into low earth orbit. This has raised concerns about space junk & space pollution, which could lead to a dangerous environment in orbit. Increasing quantities of orbital junk could even cause a Kessler syndrome, a sort of chain reaction in which satellites collide with junk left behind from other collisions until everything in orbit is exploded, leaving behind an impenetrable cloud of debris. To prevent this problem, SpaceX has been required to promise that each of these satellites will be de-orbited after its five-year lifetime. So, more launches to replace old satellites as they are destroyed.

Of course 50 million customers would be just a start. Why not 500 million customers, requiring 120,000 satellites? We're talking 500 launches a year to maintain such a fleet, at 23,000 gallons of RP-1 for each launch. About 400,000 barrels of oil equivalent per year. World oil consumption is about 33 billion barrels annually, so SpaceX's share would be just a drop in the bucket.

But on the other hand, in a post-petroleum world, it would take a lot of solar panels to synthesize that much jet fuel.
 
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Richard Stanley

Administrator
I'd like to see flat earthers explain how this works.
Well ... uhmm ... Jerry, there are giant cannons placed around the ice wall rim of the Earth, from which they shoot these communication transponders (that They hilariously call 'satellites'). Near the end of each shot the transponder assembly deploys a parachute where each is recovered by trained Labrador 'retrievers' so that they can be reused repeatedly.

Why else do you think they are called 'retrievers'? These stalwart pooches even bring the 'satellite back to the cannons and place them in the reload bin. Thus no disgruntled human employees to ratfink on the operation.

BTW, how can there be Globalism if there is no Globe? Hah!!!
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
So let's get back to the Mars narrative. Musk's authorized biographer, Ashlee Vance, observes in "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future":

While the “putting man on Mars” talk can strike some people as loopy, it gave Musk a unique rallying cry for his companies. It’s the sweeping goal that forms a unifying principle over everything he does. Employees at all three companies are well aware of this and well aware that they’re trying to achieve the impossible day in and day out. When Musk sets unrealistic goals, verbally abuses employees, and works them to the bone, it’s understood to be—on some level—part of the Mars agenda. (pp. 16-17)​

So how realistic is this Mars agenda? From a businessman's point of view, it hardly even matters. Whether earthlings are going to Mars beginning in 2024 as per Musk's most ambitious plans, or whether (as Miles Mathis says) "The whole project stinks of a con.. ridiculous for so many reasons it is hard to know where to start", either way it's a great employee motivator. A great way to get those employees to build some nice luxury cars, and low-cost reusable rockets for launching communications and surveillance satellites into orbit.

And furthermore, Musk comes across like a true believer. If so, he's the best kind of person to convince his employees to believe likewise.

Turning humans into space colonizers is his stated life’s purpose. “I would like to die thinking that humanity has a bright future,” he said. “If we can solve sustainable energy and be well on our way to becoming a multiplanetary species with a self-sustaining civilization on another planet—to cope with a worst-case scenario happening and extinguishing human consciousness—then,” and here he paused for a moment, “I think that would be really good.” (pp. 3-4).​
 
Presuming it is not a con it is but a very sad story indeed...
And furthermore, Musk comes across like a true believer. If so, he's the best kind of person to convince his employees to believe likewise.

Turning humans into space colonizers is his stated life’s purpose. “I would like to die thinking that humanity has a bright future,” he said. “If we can solve sustainable energy and be well on our way to becoming a multiplanetary species with a self-sustaining civilization on another planet—to cope with a worst-case scenario happening and extinguishing human consciousness—then,” and here he paused for a moment, “I think that would be really good.” (pp. 3-4).​
...since if real trouble broke out in the spacecraft (e.g. a fire) and they had to call back to Earth for detailed assistance in fighting this complicated emergency, light signals could take 20 mins each way, hence by the time effective and correct measures were communicated from Earth, the astronauts could long be dead or the situation turned to fatality because they did not know the intricate manoeuvres needed to save themselves (remember Apollo 13).

Nevertheless, there are patents for faster-than-light signalling.

Yours faithfully
Claude
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
A summary of Ashlee Vance's biography of Elon Musk was posted at Bloomberg.com:

https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-elon-musk-spacex/

It presents a rather convincing picture that Musk invented his SpaceX plan as the culmination of a sort of journey of personal awakening. Vance says that "As a child, he had dreamed of rocket ships and space travel, devouring Heinlein, Asimov, and Douglas Adams" and that with his sudden windfall from PayPal, he started "talking openly about space travel and changing the world". He joined Robert Zubrin's Mars Society and gave them $100,000 to set up a research station. Musk came up with a plan to send a mouse to Mars, talked about it with some space experts, and decided it would make more sense to send a greenhouse with some plants instead. Then he went on two trips to Russia to try to buy some rockets.

On the first trip, Musk brought along a friend, Adeo Ressi. Vance tells us:

Ressi, a gangly eccentric, had been thinking a lot about whether his best friend had started to lose his mind, and he’d been doing his best to discourage the project. He peppered Musk with links to video montages of Russian, European, and American rockets exploding. He staged interventions, bringing Musk’s friends together to talk him out of wasting his money. None of it worked. Musk remained committed to funding a grand, inspirational spectacle in space and would spend all of his fortune to do it.
On the second trip, negotiations got down to brass tacks. The Russians asked for $8 million per missile, and Musk wanted two for that price. The Russians said 'nyet, silly boy' (my translation imagination) and Musk "stormed out of the meeting". Musk thought he could build the rockets cheaper himself, and that's what he set out to do.

Now, if one is inclined to think that this sounds like a 'cover story', here's something to think about. On the 2nd of his trips to Russia, Musk brought along Mike Griffin, who had previously worked for In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture capital firm. Three years later, Griffin went on to become the chief administrator at NASA, where he presided over a $396 million contract with SpaceX awarded in 2006 for cargo delivery to the Space Station, as well as another $1.6 billion contract in 2008 for the same purpose. Also, in 2007, Griffin announced that NASA intended to send a manned mission to Mars by 2037.

At this point, I need to say a word about conspiracy and conspiracy theories. According to Wikipedia, the term "Conspiracy Theory" is a pejorative indicating an invocation of a conspiracy when other explanations are more probable. Their article goes on to admit that real conspiracies do exist and have been generally acknowledged, based on investigative reporting. And it is further admitted that such theories are no longer limited to fringe audiences, but that such beliefs have become commonplace among the public. Of course, we suspect that this is because many so-called "conspiracy theories" have actually been proven by independent investigative reporting beyond any reasonable doubt, even though the billionaire-controlled mass media don't agree.

But in this case, one must admit that there is no proof that Griffin conspired with Musk to deliver those NASA contracts to SpaceX, or that the CIA was involved in that conspiracy. However, Occam's Razor doesn't seem to cut strongly against it. In fact, from a point of view of institutional or Bayesian analysis, it makes more sense that NASA awarded those contracts based on some backroom understanding, or with some hidden agenda, rather than in support of Musk's dream to go to Mars. So, without better evidence, I feel we should put this in the category of a plausible but unproven conspiracy. And furthermore, if it was a conspiracy, it's impossible to prove whether NASA and/or the CIA were using Musk, or whether he was using them. They may have both thought they got the best end of the deal.
 
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Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
And now we reach possibly what is the nadir of this series of posts, which is to discuss Musk's actual plan to colonize Mars, such as it is.

He is going to build the biggest flying phallic symbol ever, which he actually calls the Big Fucking Rocket. It hardly seems appropriate to say anything more. But I will manage a few words.

Before we start, here's a four minute video from SpaceX, showing how a happy crew of 100 astronauts will go to Mars on the Big Fucking Rocket. This is supposed to be happening in 2024, five years from now.


And if you want more details -- here are a couple of papers, in which Musk explains the plan.

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/space.2017.29009.emu

There really is a way that anyone could go if they wanted to.
https://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/making_life_multiplanetary_transcript_2017.pdf

In last year’s presentation, we were really searching for the right way to pay for this thing. We went through various ideas— Kickstarter, collecting underpants, etc. These didn’t pan out, but now we think we have got a way to achieve this.
With all due respect, I'm not convinced that Musk has really figured out "how to pay for this thing." There seem to be two key elements in his current plan. One is to use the profits from the network of wireless Internet satellites, and the other is to get average people to pay $200,000 each for tickets to Mars.

My guess is that funding from NASA will also be a key part of the plan, if indeed it's going to happen. But so far, Musk isn't saying so.

Ultimately, Musk intends to establish a colony on Mars with a population of 1 million people, and a self-sufficient industrial and agricultural base. But that isn't the startup agenda. Instead, in 2022 a pair of BFR's will embark to Mars carrying supplies & equipment. Then in 2024 a crew-carrying ship will follow. They will deploy a solar-powered manufacturing plant that will synthesize enough rocket fuel for their return trip, from local raw materials. And then they will fly back home to Earth. It's an exploration trip / feasibility check / joyride, not so different from the Apollo moon mission plan.

There and back again. With a colossal amount of money wasted in the process.

With the Big Fucking Rocket, Musk is basically providing infrastructure. A way to get around in space. Really, he's counting on entrepreneurial animal spirits to come up with the details for this plan to go to Mars.

Wait -- but what do Musk's old friends from the Mars Society think? This rocket is Too Fucking Big. It's Royally Fucked Up. It's like Musk is building it for some other purpose, because it's certainly nothing you'd want to use to go to Mars. Well, they don't exactly say that, but look at what they do say, and read between the lines.

https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/colonizing-mars

Colonizing Mars
A Critique of the SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System

...I was among the thousands of people in the room (and many more watching live online) when Musk gave his remarkable presentation, and was struck by its many good and powerful ideas. However, Musk’s plan assembled some of those good ideas in an extremely suboptimal way, making the proposed system impractical.

http://www.marspapers.org/paper/Haldi_2018_1_pres.pdf

"Too big not to fail?"
Moreover, the very "monolithic" concept makes it difficult to provide "plans B" in case of possible problems.

In addition to these considerations, let's take a critical look at Musk's stated reason to go to Mars:

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/space.2017.29009.emu

I think there are really two fundamental paths. History is going to bifurcate along two directions. One path is we stay on Earth forever, and then there will be some eventual extinction event. I do not have an immediate doomsday prophecy, but eventually, history suggests, there will be some doomsday event.
The alternative is to become a space-bearing civilization and a multi-planetary species, which I hope you would agree is the right way to go.

So we're going to Mars to avoid extinction. Another paper at the Mars Society maps out the issues in more detail:

http://www.marspapers.org/paper/Davidson_2017_2.pdf

IMPROVING THE SPACEX MARS COLONIZATION PLAN
Craig Davidson
Stay and Die or Go and Die?
There are numerous threats to life on Earth, such as Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), asteroids/comets, local gamma ray bursts, nearby supernovae, and wandering brown dwarfs (pretty much in decreasing likelihood of encountering them in our lifetime). Mankind of course has created its own threats, such as nuclear war, bio-warfare, rogue nanotechnology, and pollution. There are plenty of ways to die, and most of them apply just as well on Mars as they do on Earth, with Mars having no air, no food, and very little protection against radiation of all kinds. A CME that would bounce right off Earth’s magnetosphere would completely fry the people and equipment on the Martian surface. What is important is that the most likely extinction-level natural events (the first two) would only affect one planet or the other. The other three could pretty much kill everybody no matter where we are, until we can expand to another solar system.
Now I'd have to add that in the entire time that life has existed on Earth, at least a billion years, there has never been a CME big enough to be implicated in a major extinction event. Out of five major extinctions, only one is currently believed to be related to an asteroid impact. So the odds of the human race making it through the next million years, at least, without being wiped out by a CME or asteroid impact, look pretty good. And those are the two most likely natural threats listed by these Mars experts. And out of the two, they admit that the Mars colony could be wiped out by a CME event that would be a trifle to Earth.

So these are reasons why Musk wants to go to Mars? Or is he worried about "nuclear war, bio-warfare, rogue nanotechnology, and pollution"? That doesn't make any sense either.

Would an Earth superpower risk being left second fiddle to a Mars colony? No, surely an empire in distress would have a few extra missiles to send to Mars and destroy the place. Or more likely, the same idiotic ideological pursuits would lead to Armageddon on Mars, either simultaneously or separately from Earth.

Similarly, bio-warfare or rogue nanotechnology would surely pursue mankind to the last person on Mars, if indeed they could get everyone on earth first.

Pollution and global warming? Even with the worst possible imaginable pollution and climate change, the Earth would still have the benefits of natural gravity, protection from the worst of cosmic rays, abundant water and oxygen, and a far better prospect for terraforming than Mars ever could.In the event of the near-extinction of the human race due to any imaginable cause, it's obviously preferable to shelter in place on Earth, rather than carrying one's prepper mission to Mars. As Davidson said: "There are plenty of ways to die, and most of them apply just as well on Mars as they do on Earth, with Mars having no air, no food, and very little protection against radiation of all kinds."

And as the Davidson paper goes on to explain:

The Sword Over Our Heads
Every summer, we risk the end of life on Earth. Methane hydrate bubbles frozen in the tundra of Siberia are already popping, releasing a greenhouse gas twenty five times more powerful than CO2, while temperatures in the arctic are ten degrees higher than average [4]. But even larger methane hydrate bubbles are trapped within the continental shelf of the arctic ocean [5,6]. Fortunately, we have brave humans willing to pop the methane bubbles for their own enrichment [7], risking releasing 800 years of equivalent CO2 consumption at 25x potency, which might lead humans in the next few years to try to move to Venus to cool off. Carbon poisoning our planet has been bad enough, but now some people in positions of power appear desperate to prove our species is suicidal.

Now admittedly, Davidson is being a bit sensationalist here. Many scientists don't think the arctic methane is going anywhere, or at least not within the next 50 years. Even still, it would be more comforting if wealthy elites such as Elon Musk (and not to mention Jeff Bezos) had some plan to save Earth in the short run, rather than planning an escape to Mars??
 
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