Ilon Mask spoke about the flight to Mars and the interplanetary transport system

Entrepreneur and visionary Ilon Mask often tells something interesting about his projects or plans - both at various events and on the net. The other day, Musk pleased Reddit users with his detailed answers regarding the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS) and the colonization of Mars.

He focused on interplanetary flights, because this is a really important issue that he has been engaged in for a long time. Solving the problem of effective development of relatively close to Earth objects (mainly Mars), Ilon Musk suggests using his Big Fucking Falcon Rocket ( BFR ) rocket.

ITS works as follows. A rocket with a spacecraft was initially placed into orbit, after which it separated from the spacecraft and returned to Earth. Already in orbit, the ship is refueling, it opens the solar panels to provide the systems with energy and goes to Mars.

BFR here is the central element; without it, launching an interplanetary transport system is simply impossible. The company showed the design of BFR in 2016 and 2017. Versions of different years differ in some elements of the design. For example, in 2017, the rocket has a more cylindrical shape. Musk stated that this was done to achieve an optimal mass ratio. He also said that fuel tanks should be cylindrical for maximum efficiency. Plus, Musk mentioned that heat shields should be mounted directly to the walls of the fuel tanks.

In the design of the last year, the guiding wings of the rocket and the same heat shields were one with the body of the aircraft. This year, the decision was slightly changed, making these elements modular. Unfortunately, the head of SpaceX did not answer the question of whether these elements are removable. But he said that the guide wings do not provide any lifting force, they are intended to level the yaw of the rocket during descent.

Musk also answered questions about the process of mastering Mars. According to him, before sending probes to the Red Planet, SpaceX will send satellites to the Mars orbit, which will study the planet and the structural features of its surface. This is necessary to determine the optimal landing place for the colonists.

Unfortunately, about what these satellites are and how they will look. Musk did not say anything. But now it is clear that the orbit of Mars will become increasingly lively over time. Most likely, they will be launched within two to three years.

Interplanetary Internet

It is clear that to communicate with those who go to Mars, both intelligence officers and colonists, you need a reliable connection . In order to prevent problems on this path, SpaceX is going to create something like a cellular network for space. Musk believes that in this case, the development of a new communication protocol is required. In his opinion, users from Mars should be given access to the normal Internet. But since in the case of direct work, the "Martians" will get a lag of 20 minutes, then we need some kind of caching system located in space or on Mars itself.

Anyway, according to Mask, this is a solvable problem.

Raptor engines

It was previously announced that Raptor engines will develop 300 tons of thrust. A little later, this value was reduced to 170. This was done in order to improve the accuracy of operations like vertical landing. Now SpaceX developers are paying maximum attention to rocket security. The goal is to make the rocket very reliable. Ideally, SpaceX rockets, according to the head of the company, should be safer than airliners.

The number of engines is reduced from 42 originally planned to 31. This is also done to reduce the complexity of the rocket design. Moreover, if one of the engines fails, the rocket will still function normally. But in the number of engines in one rocket there should be limitations - the more there are, the harder it is to control the rocket. Moreover, the dependence is completely non-linear.

BFR has a specialization of engines - there are two such "specialties". The first type is designed to work in a vacuum, and the second - to work at sea level. The first type of engine can also be used at sea level. But this possibility is provided only for emergency situations .

They will not be printed on a 3D printer. Rather, there will be, but only some components. All other engine components will be made by sintering metal powder with a special composition.


Intercontinental flights

Using rockets and close space, the journey from anywhere in the world to any takes only a few tens of minutes. And the "jump" Mask going with the help of the same BFR. There are many critics of this point of view on the Web, but the company is going to do everything that way.

Life on mars

Speaking about life on Mars, Musk said that he would do everything possible to ensure the survival of the colonists. At the same time, he hopes that the colonists will be able to produce / grow components for fuel and food for themselves directly on Mars.

The landing site will be selected next to the ice deposits. But at the same time on the site itself, for obvious reasons, there should not be boulders. Now the company is developing a system for collecting / manufacturing fuel components on site. If everything works out, the colonists will not need to deliver rocket fuel from the Earth, everything will be created right on the spot.

Ilon Mask also mentioned that the creation of a developed Martian colony with advanced infrastructure will be possible only if a large number of companies and millions of people participate in the project.

Creating a colony on Mars, according to the head of SpaceX, is necessary for the future of mankind. This is something like a way to "save" civilization. By the year 2100, according to Musk, there should already be about a million people on the Red Planet. This will ensure sufficient genetic diversity so that the “Martians” have the opportunity to increase the population of the colony.

The main difficulty is the lack of opportunities for the first colonists to get outside help. If something serious happens, then in the conditions of Mars it can become a critical problem. The conditions in which the colonists will be, Musk compared with those that were waiting for immigrants who crossed the Atlantic Ocean hundreds of years ago. Of course, there are differences. In particular, it all starts with the launch of the super-heavy launch vehicle. Then people will have to spend about a month in space. And then the pioneer colonists await the descent. Each stage is complex in its own way, and if something goes wrong, you will have to forget about the colony.

Before people fly to Mars, several unmanned rovers and equipment will be sent there. “It will be regular shipping. You can calculate the frequency. Cargo will be shipped every 26 months. About how the train leaves regularly from the station. And if scientists from all over the world understand that cargo transportation is safe and relatively inexpensive (compared to previous expeditions), then they will be able to plan their actions and carry out a large number of necessary experiments, ” says Musk. All this will be implemented by SpaceX and other companies.

But Musk still hopes that difficulties can be avoided. Actually, precisely because of his hope to create a colony on Mars, Musk and founded SpaceX 14 years ago.

Unfortunately, so far nothing is known about how SpaceX is going to select people who will fly to Mars. The main thing - these people must be aware of the danger, each of them may die for one reason or another. The life of the first colonists will be very difficult. If everything works out, then the pioneers will pave the way for other immigrants who will be more comfortable on Mars - after all, the most complex work on the exploration of the planet will be carried out. Yes, and it will be very soon.

Whatever it was, but the project of creating a colony is gradually being implemented. It all started small, and is gradually gaining momentum. Knowing Mask’s ability to achieve his goals, it can be assumed that everything will be fine with a colony on Mars - sooner or later it will appear and will function as the first outpost of man in space, although so far and so far.


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