“Ethics change with technology.”
— Larry Niven
After Paypal, Hyperloop One, Tesla, and many other projects behind, Elon Musk`s empire united in a joint venture with Lockheed, Roscosmos and some other companies and organizations, they just announced the “Solar Ride“. Mission to Mars as of today is not a Sci-Fi movie, but reality. As pieces of Elon Musk`s final plan are coming together and getting reviled to the public, this man`s futuristic ideas are looking more and more real. This bold plan has a mission to send people to great distances in a time frame, small enough, not to consume an entire part of human life. For example, if travel to Mars is going to take half of your life than you have nothing to return for or no time to do it. But if you are able to go to Mars in a week, days, or even hours, then we are not talking about just one time visit, but something more like a regular traffic line. To put some numbers in, distance to Mars is 225 Million Kilometers, and if one would travel there at Mach 2 constant speed (that is near the speed of Concorde supersonic airplane for example), it would take 10.4 years to come to Mars. We can all agree that it is too long. But let’s take another example and consider traveling at speeds more close to the speed of light than the speed of sound. If we would ride at 1/10 of the speed of light, it would take 125 ………. minutes to come to Mars. Sounds better?
Now back to Musk`s project, and it`s terminology.
In this project there are 6 major phases regarding Earth-Mars travel :
As a first step, it is planned to be one way trip for cargo and research drones that would be stockpiled or used remotely in Mars`s orbit.
It is obvious that for returning journey one more Photon Cannon would be needed in at the Mars side to ensure initial speedup. For now, there are some options considered, like sending unmanned automated cargo ships with preassembled parts so at the final point Photon Cannon would be built in Marse’s orbit and used for sending S-Riders back to Earth. This would add a huge amount of lag time to end phase of the project and skyrocket the price of entire endeavor, but in a long term, it would make the travel Earth-Mars – Earth almost like ping pong. The final decision has still not been reached but most of the blueprints and proof of concept solutions have been already made.
It`s not a secret that Musk`s companies are digging beneath LA, and part of the story is resolving a 2D roads and 3D Buildings problem, by transforming 2D road network to 3D using multi-layer tunnels. Another part is that those underground digging sites, can be used as great and hidden testing facilities for other purposes, and we got few leaked images of the smaller test version of the Photon Cannon. It is truly a remarkable piece of machinery and we are still hoping that Musk will soon shed some light on a subject.
Now, to share some info about project progress and time schedule…
Photon Cannon is already in the successful testing phase, not in orbit but below Earth’s surface. Manufacturing of SFV (Satellite Facility Version) starts as of this day. It`s planned to be finished by October 2018. It is proprietary technology and it will be built “in-house” by Musk`s companies.
“S-Rider SCC” is going to be built in the next two years, and contracts are signed with Lockheed Martin one of the leaders in the Aerospace & Defense industries and Roscosmos, Russian State Corporation for Space Activities. Hypermaneuvering part of the SCC will be done in-house by Neuralink and for the Liquid compartment part, GUE is contracted as consultant for underwater survival and University of Medical Sciences of Havana for breathing liquid technology as a leader on this field. You see, Elon Musk once again did what was considered impossible, and so to say got Yin and Yang to work together, all for the same and better cause.
Dragon Spacecraft is already there and in use, so only some modifications need to be made for it to be carried by S-Rider SCC. It is a finish to start a task and its predecessor task is S-Rider.
One more aspect of this story emerges after thinking this thru. Some questions need to be asked: Will someone try to claim Mars? Will UN have to enforce The Outer Space Treaty in the near future? Is it possible to own a planet? Will Mars get its owner, and will it be a person, state or company? Is there gonna be a monopoly on space travel since technology could be locked? More and more questions can be asked, but since this is a story that has an Elon Musk as a protagonist, that kind of question can be forgotten.
Summa summarum, by all pointers, test ride to Mars could be happening in the middle of 2020, and we can only conclude that we live in such an exciting time, and be grateful to have people like Elon Musk living and creating among us since he is one of the very few real intellectuals in this world.
Once again, thank you for reading.
P.S. This all went pretty well considering the publishing date 🙂