Thursday, 10 November 2011

SpaceX Dragon to Mars

NASA is looking into using the SpaceX Dragon for a Mars mission that could be cheaper and more efficient.

As I've said before, the real Space Age will begin the same way the Age of Exploration did; not with quirky and expensive experimental vehicles built for specific mission, but with general commercial craft that can do the job in their stride.


Sergej said...

What have you got against quirky and experimental vehicles funded by the government? Don't forget that without the Argo, we wouldn't have stop-motion skeleton technology. Wheres all the Age of Exploration gave us was that movie where Errol Flynn plays this one dude, and that other movie where he sword-fights with Sherlock Holmes. Surely that is worth something.

eon said...

Columbus sailed to the New World in a carrack- a typical merchant ship of its day. He was actually trying to get to Japan by a route that didn't involve paying tribute to Our Friends The Islamics, but the cartographer whose maps he was using took Marco Polo's exaggerated figure for the distance from Venice to Peking over the Silk Route too seriously.

By that figure, and knowing the circumference of the Earth (worked out by Eratosthenes around 1800 years earlier), the trip to Japan looked about equal in length to the coastal run from Spain to the Cape of Good Hope; a trading route the Portuguese had used for a couple of centuries, and certainly "doable" by the naval state of the art of the day.

Columbus tried it, and ran into Hispaniola instead. Oops.

The moral being that who is going matters more than how they get there. And that what you find is rarely going to be what you expect to.