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Jun 12, 2016, 07:07 PM
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Mars colonial transporter fact vs fiction

Musk rounded the internet with another interview. This one was not released in its entirety, on account of Jeff Bezos owning the Washington Post & being his arch enemy. Does Bezos even deliver Musk's amazon prime orders?

Taking him seriously requires assuming Yellen did enact double digit negative interest rates & millenials were dumb enough to think unlimited money was worth something. Well, we've got 1 out of 2 & 1 out of 2 ain't bad.

The hypothetical precursor missions involving sending Dragon 2's to the surface with paying scientific payloads have 1 problem: an experiment stuck inside a capsule is worthless. The experiment would have to climb out of the hatch or the capsule would need a completely different payload door. It would take a capsule completely different from what would carry humans, thus defeating the purpose of using a Dragon 2.

Anyways, Bezos's interviewer leaned more on the Falcon heavy & Dragon capsules being used for the whole Mars architecture rather than a new super rocket. Any colonial transporter would permanently stay in orbit.

Musk himself always insisted the Mars architecture would use a new super rocket. However, the size of the Raptor engine was continually shrunk & now would only be 200,000lbs of thrust.

Considering nothing larger than a basic trim, 5th generation, naturally aspirated, Honda SUV crossover has ever been put on Mars, no methane has ever been generated on Mars, no significant food has ever been grown in space, the only way to explain a jump from today to a self sufficient colony of hundreds of people generating millions of gallons of methane & generating its own food on Mars would be full reusability. It would mean what happened at landing zone 1 last year with the 1st intact booster recovery really was a major turning point in human progress worthy of resetting the Roman calendar to 0 at.

The sudden escalation in Mars plans & delaying of his speech last December seems to agree with that landing being a lot more important than anyone realizes. If he ever delivers the speech, it might have the magnitude of a UN speech or a state of the union, to be replayed after every replaying of the Kennedy speech.

For the 5th year in a row, we have only the hope of a Falcon 9 heavy, someday, with no customers. Every few years, there is only 1 customer with a big enough payload to use such a large rocket: the NRO, but all their future launches are on Delta IV heavies.

The only way it can be viable is if the extra capacity goes to full reusability when sending Dragon size payloads to low Earth orbit. Musk has conceded full reusability is impossible without a more efficient engine, but maybe the Falcon 9 heavy could do it. To a fake test pilot, the 2nd stage could be completely eliminated & the center core could push all the way to orbit, slow back down & land, maybe using a heat shield.

Maybe it could achieve full reusability for geostationary orbit, by heavily investing in aerobraking. With only 3 million pounds of propellants on the bill, it just starts to become possible for an ordinary worker to imagine going into space. Outside the reality distortion field, it's still quite impossible with the single stick Falcon 9.
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