Search results for: elon musk mars

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Arthur C. Clarke Predicts The Future From 1964 — How Well Did He Do?

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ClarkeIn addition to being one of the literary titans of the science fiction genre, Sir Arthur C. Clarke proved an adept hand at predicting the ways technology would evolve in the future, from game-changing communications satellites to visions of space flight that uncannily mirrored the eventual real thing. Of course, this sort of forecast runs the risk of you looking goofy a few decades down the line when we’re not all puttering around the sky in Jetsons vehicles. Or, as Clarke himself more eloquently put it:

Trying to predict the future is a discouraging, hazardous occupation, because the prophet invariably falls between two schools. If his predictions sound at all reasonable, you can be quite sure that in 20, or at most 50 years, the progress of science and technology has made him seem ridiculously conservative. On the other hand, if by some miracle a prophet could describe the future exactly as it was going to take place, his predictions would sound so absurd, so far-fetched that everybody would laugh him to scorn.

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SpaceX F9R Test Rocket Self-Detonates In Mid Flight

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spacexexplodeIt’s hard to watch anything in the sky explode and not think: holy shit, what a disaster! But when a SpaceX Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) test rocket exploded over Texas yesterday, it wasn’t really a disaster. For starters, no one was inside, and secondly, self-detonation is what such crafts do when they realize there’s been some kind of technical glitch or error. So on the one hand, the safety measure worked; on the other, it’s never really an awesome thing for a test rocket to have an error that prompts it to self-detonate.

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Mousetronauts Headed To The ISS

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mousetronautsSoon there won’t be any cosmonauts on the ISS, but new residents will soon arrive, and while they might not be as helpful as cosmonauts, they may be cuddlier. Elon Musk calls them “mousetronauts,” and in August they’ll fly to the ISS on a SpaceX Dragon cargo ship to be part of a NASA study on the physiological effects of long-duration weightlessness.

The rodent research focuses on the physiological changes that occur when living for long periods in zero or microgravity. Even though astronauts exercise while on the ISS, they invariably lose muscle, immune system capabilities, and bone density, among other problems. Prolonged stays in microgravity also affect the nervous, endocrine, and reproductive systems, as well as genetic and molecular processes. Researchers believe that studying the mice will help them learn how and why these changes occur.

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SpaceX To Launch Missions for the U.S. Military

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Falcon 9SpaceX seems to be taking the world—make that the universe—by storm. The private contractor hauls cargo to the ISS, and despite an initial launch glitch, it has begun taking communications satellites into orbit. The company is also working on manned flight capabilities, with the long-term goal to get people to Mars. There seems to be no aspect of space travel SpaceX isn’t involved in, and now it’s poised to launch missions for the U.S. military.

This week, Elon Musk told the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense that he’s ready to get in the running for Air Force contracts based on the strength of theFalcon rocket. “Frankly, if our rockets are good enough for NASA, why are they not good enough for the Air Force?” Musk says. Fair point, though NASA has different requirements for its contracts.

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British Interplanetary Society Wants To Build Rotating Space Colonies

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space colonyMars One is currently the only thoroughly developed Mars colonization proposal currently on the table. The selection process for the first Mars colonists is currently underway, and if all goes according to plan — and that’s a big if — the Dutch non-profit would land the first humans on the Red Planet in 2023. Elon Musk, who echoes Stephen Hawking’s argument that humans need to colonize Mars to avoid eventual extinction, has grand plans to transport about 80,000 people to Mars via SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Dragon capsules at about $500,000 a ticket. But some people, such as Mars Society Founder and President Robert Zubrin, author of The Case for Mars, thinks that we’re better prepared to send humans to Mars now than we were to send humans to the Moon in the ’60s. He has argued this for a long time, and is impatient at the lack of progress in landing colonists on Mars. And while Mars seems like a clear choice for colonization, other ideas have been circulating, such as colonizing the clouds of Venus. A recent proposal from the British Interplanetary Society is actually the resurrection of a 40-year-old idea to create rotating space colonies in space.

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3, 2, 1 — Uh Oh, SpaceX Reschedules Falcon 9 Rocket Launch For Thursday

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Falcon 9

Earlier today, SpaceX’s website was counting down, stopping, then counting down again, then stopping again, scrubbing the launch that was scheduled to take place at approximately 5:37pm EST. On Thursday, SpaceX will again attempt to launch a Falcon 9 rocket for a GEO Transfer Mission. The rocket, which will launch from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, will put an Orbital Sciences SES-8 satellite, designed to support Southeast Asian communications needs for about 15 years, into a geostationary transfer orbit. Then, about a half-hour after launch, the Falcon 9 will deliver the satellite into geostationary orbit at about 22,000 miles above Earth, roughly 25% of the way to the moon. Many launchers deliver a satellite in two phases, or burns, depending on how long and how much power it takes to reach the first apogee. The transfer to geostatic orbit phase is usually performed via solar power, which reduces overall costs. This launch is SpaceX’s first attempt at putting a communications satellite in orbit.