Mars optimism

A succinct and optimistic piece from Chris Carberry and Rick Zucker at Explore Mars on why a commitment to putting humans on Mars is a good idea right now.
“After over 18 months of worldwide upheaval and social isolation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, people crave optimistic, ambitious, affordable and achievable programs that can help us overcome the negativity and division that hinders us.”

Starship will change everything

This is a long read, but worthwhile. It is not hyperbole to say that Starship will change everything. And it will happen faster than the current space industry is prepared to adapt.

From the article:

“There are still major risks on the critical path between now and a fully reusable Starship, but no miracles are required to solve them.

Starship will change the way we do business in space, and now is the time to start preparing.

Annual capacity to LEO climbs from its current average of 500 T for the whole of our civilization to perhaps 500 T per week. Eventually, it could exceed 1,000,000 T/year. At the same time, launch costs drop as low as $50/kg, roughly 100x lower than the present. For the same budget in launch, supply will have increased by roughly 100x. How can the space industry saturate this increased launch supply?

Prior to Starship, heavy machinery for building a Moon base could only come from NASA, because only NASA has the expertise to build a rocket propelled titanium Moon tractor for a billion dollars per unit. After Starship, Caterpillar or Deere or Kamaz can space qualify their existing commodity products with very minimal changes and operate them in space.

Even if the space industry fully understood Starship, I think it would be very difficult for them to plan and adapt rapidly enough to match the coming explosion in launch capacity.”

Buddies

Look at these two!

Kolor stitching | 62 pictures | Size: 14114 x 13209 | Lens: Standard | RMS: 3.47 | FOV: NA | Projection: Stereographic | Color: LDR |

See https://mars.nasa.gov/resources/25790/perseverances-selfie-with-ingenuity/ for info on how the image was taken.

image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Ingenuity on the surface

Stop a moment and look at this image. The human eye loves a vanishing point image and this is a good one. Look at the way the tracks interact with features of the surface. Look at the other set of tracks to the right. Perseverance has been busy looking for just the right spot. Finally, look at Ingenuity, newly set on the surface of its new home, waiting for its chance to rise up and explore on its own.

image: NASA/JPL-Caltech