• Question: Would what Elon Musk is claiming feasible in your mind? Is it preposterous or is it a perfect fact?

    Asked by ThomasP to Naziyah, Namrah, John, Joanna, Hester, Gosia, Ed, Adriana on 8 Mar 2021.
    • Photo: Naziyah Mahmood

      Naziyah Mahmood answered on 8 Mar 2021:

      Hi Thomas! He’s claimed a lot of things so I’m not sure which one you’re referring to, though I’m guessing it’s about future human space exploration and colonization of other planets?

      I can see why many see Musk as being eccentric, as he often comes out with some pretty ‘crazy’ ideas! However, he has huge teams of experts behind him with whom he consults to be able to get facts.
      Every idea always starts out sounding crazy, but can one day become normal!

      We recently launched several satellites on a SpaceX Falcon-9 launch, which broke the record for carrying (or piggybacking) the largest number of satellites on one launch.
      It worked 🙂

      We’ve also seen many SpaceX launches fail recently (in explosive colours too!), however we’re also seeing them getting better with practice.

      Some ideas can be too far-fetched, but every great idea needs to start somewhere!

    • Photo: Namrah Habib

      Namrah Habib answered on 9 Mar 2021: last edited 9 Mar 2021 11:48 am

      Hi Thomas! I’m going to assume you mean Elon Musk’s plan to colonise Mars. Personally, I think Elon Musk’s drive to go to Mars is really impressive. However, we currently do not have most of the technology to enable humans to go to Mars and live there for an extended period of time. Therefore, Elon Musk and SpaceX have been doing a lot of work to design and develop this technology. The most prominent of the technology they are developing are their rockets – specifically the Starship rocket (https://www.spacex.com/vehicles/starship/) which is being designed to be the main source of transportation beyond low Earth orbit. Aside from the rockets, we also need to consider how we will create or produce enough fuel to get back to Earth for a rocket launch on Mar’s surface and also how humans will live on Mars. SpaceX is also working on the problem of creating fuel on Mars using the carbon dioxide within Mar’s atmosphere to be able to launch rockets from Mars back to Earth. However, this technology is still being developed and we’re not sure how well it will perform at the moment!

      The rockets are not the only technology that we need to develop to send humans to Mars. Mars has a really thin atmosphere which is primarily carbon dioxide and the average temperature on Mars is measured to be about -60 C with variation from 20 C to -153! Mars is also known to have dust storms. So if we want to send humans to Mars we need to develop the technology to create a habitat that allows humans to survive on Mars with the most pressing issue being having enough oxygen to breathe. I know Elon Musk has also put of the idea of terraforming Mars to be more Earth-like but this is actually quite difficult and complicated to change a planets atmosphere and many people are not exactly even sure what the technology and means to do this are.

      To summarise, I do like his vision to eventually send humans to Mars but I personally don’t believe this will happen for a very long time since we have a lot of technology to design, develop, and test before this can become a reality. SpaceX and some other space exploration companies are already working on addressing some of these challenges so its not preposterous but there is still a lot of questions to address and problems to solve!