Sunday , May 19 2024

An Amazing Moment in History

Most people do not realize that they are witnessing a pivotal moment in history as it happens.  We may think that an event is “major” but have no inkling that it is world shattering.

The pivotal events of this century occurred this year as Falcon flew astronauts to the International Space Station and Starship performed its first altitude test.  These events mean that not only will there be a permanent base on the moon by mid decade but a base on Mars will be operational by 2030.

We have all become so inured to science fiction, with people flying across the galaxy, that most of us have forgotten that humanity is still firmly located around the Earth.  Elon Musk’s SpaceX is changing the fiction to reality.

Elon Musk has followed in the footsteps of the great nineteenth century engineers such as Brunel, Tesla and the Wright brothers and is now surpassing them.  The development of Starship marks a leap forward in space technology and that leap is measured in dollars per launch:

“If you consider operational costs, maybe it’ll be like $2 million,” said Musk during a talk at the event.” This is much less than even a tiny rocket,” Musk added. “So, it’s something that needs to be made. The cost of propellant to launch it off the Earth is estimated to cost $900,000.” (Quoted in Magzster).

Each launch can ferry up to 100 people into space.  Starship means that SpaceX will soon put people in space for 100th the price of launches by NASA.  A 1000 Starship launches could ferry 100,000 people to Mars for $2bn. A huge city could be built on Mars, and populated for under $10bn in Earth to Mars transport costs. The annual wage bill of this many colonists would be as high as the principal transport costs.

Most older people say they would never go to the Moon or Mars but these are the sorts of people who would never have gone to the Americas.  The crazy adventure of mining asteroids and exploring the solar system is for the daring young.

Mars will become the primary centre of humanity within a century.  The low gravity, abundant water and proximity to the asteroid belt means it is the place where a pan-solar system civilisation will be based.  The adventurous souls on Mars will develop the technology to travel to the nearest stars even though the journey might take four or five years*  and humanity will begin its expansion into the galaxy.


The flight of Starship SN8 shown above was the first high altitude test (8 miles) and a complete success.  SpaceX builds these rockets for $2m so doesn’t bother with much static testing.  It works live.  The absurd British press covered this test as if it were a failure :)!  The crash at the end was just a firework display to celebrate the success of the test.

This post was originally published by the author on her personal blog:

About John Sydenham

Dr John Sydenham has worked in International Pharmaceuticals and for one of the "big four" International Consultancies. He ran a successful company for 15 years and after selling the company devotes his time to travel, science, black labradors and freedom.

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