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06 January 2018


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Account Deleted

Classic Betteridge's law.

Only someone like Musk could hype the positives from the possible/likely destruction of $ millions of hardware paid for by his investors. Imagine if Koralev had tried the same thing with his backers. But I guess rocketry was a more serious business back then.

I wish this modern day pied piper and his Mars colony the best of luck, but my own bones will not be leaving this beautiful planet.


We live near Vandenberg and love watching the launches of Space X. Musk is indeed a valiant risk-taker and retains a boyish enjoyment of his own adventures. This is not a man to rest on his laurels! Go Tesla!



My parents retired to Lompoc. Do you know the "Hitching Post" cowboy steak house in Casmalia? pl

blue peacock
I wish this modern day pied piper and his Mars colony the best of luck

Elon Musk is the classic Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Selling "vaporware" is the shtick that is used many a time. Having said that, there is real innovation going on because of the unique ecosystem of venture capital, tech entrepreneurs and the engineers that make it all happen. The past track record of creating significant market capitalization drives mezzanine & late stage capital. Some incredible franchises have been created over the past 30 years.

If Musk wasn't a "hypemeister" SpaceX wouldn't garner half the attention. This is required to push the envelope. Even if SpaceX accomplishes only a third of what his "vision" pronouncements are, it would be a huge leap forward.

Tesla on the other hand could be a bust if the capital markets tighten. Even with the huge taxpayer benefit on each car sold they lose money on every car. The real competition will be coming out in force with the 2020 model year when Mercedes, VW, Volvo, Toyota, Honda, etc with long experience in automobile production and distribution start shipping EVs in volume. And remember Tesla is not only doing EVs, it absorbed Solar City when it was hitting the ropes to protect Musk's investment there. The firm bleeds cash and needs to constantly finance itself.

Babak Makkinejad

I agree. Any way, these chemical rockets are inadequate to the task; one needs nuclear-powered ion ships. There could have been more progress if we did not hate one another so much.


turcopolier -- Yes! SO good!

The Twisted Genius


Reading this conjures up the image of an ME-262 on the cover of the Blue Oyster Cult album "Secret Treaties." The pilot was a skeleton. It was a striking sketch which always stuck with me. I can see Musk's skeleton at the wheel of that red Tesla Roadster at the rim of a crater overlooking a grand Martian vista.

My younger son test drove a Tesla S last summer in Richmond. He swears his next car will be electric. He has a Golf GTI now. Tesla just built a 20 car recharging station only a few miles from his house.


He uses proven technology, namely a “copy” of the process that functioning of Moon Lander possible, paid for by the US taxpayer. He innovated by providing for inspiration and management of the introduction of preexisting higher processor power (already massively improved, e.g. pocket-size Sony CLIÉ in 2001-2005 had more computing power that the house-size Apollo Program supercomputers. That power has grown almost 100 times more, the last 15 years) to compensate for a more complex natural environment/set of parameters, on Earth. He owes American taxpayer and the government a huge debt of gratitude. I am sure he will pay his taxes when the company becomes successful, like GE does.

Green Zone Café

RIP John Young.

"Young is the only agency astronaut to go into space as part of the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programs, and the first to fly into space six times"


What could have been if the USA had funded the space program instead of flailing around the world



Another anti-business guy. Ever use the internet? ARPA did that for you. What do you owe the US government? pl


I agree with you. As you stated internet grew out of DARPA and CERN, financed by the public’s taxes. As compensation, net neutrality ensures cheap access to internet, lifting the bottom for all. I am happy with the spin-off track. In the spirit of crony capitalism, this net neutrality is eliminated thanks to a Jeltsin’s mirror image.

It would be appropriate if the captains of the industry acknowledge it with words and deeds/$ instead of profiteering from Sovietization of US system in the form of socialism for the 1 ‰ . There should be no free lunches and that is as left- as well as right wing as it gets.


I forgot to mention that I pay taxes to Uncle Sam and at the end of the day, I am not to serve the government but the other way around. If your questions is about what I contribute to the community and my fellow countrymen, I refer to the equivalent of 3 years of public service in an inner city hospital, where “real Americans” are mostly neither patients nor providers.
As an example, I would like to include the treatment of a paraplegic Vietnam veteran with pressure wounds reaching to the pelvic bone, that he developed in a VA hospital. I don’t expect kudos for that as Inwas paid for it. Same goes for the top 1‰: It would be appropriate, as I mentioned in my previous post, if taxing Neo-Commissars of modern day Sovjos & Koljos, paid for the necessary investments in social and physical fabric of this country.

Account Deleted

There could, but there wasn't, we're only human after all.

In terms of reusable rocketry to reach earth orbit I'm very interested to see this technology get off the ground (I may have posted this before). If it does we'll likely see the end of people trying to reuse 'traditional' rocket engines.

Yet despite their evident brilliance, these guys have been toiling in relative obscurity for years. Musk is actually making it happen - even if it does go bang once in a while. IMHO we need both kinds of people and most importantly a system like blue peacock describes that can get the $$ to the most promising ideas. Without the incentives that existed during the Cold War space race, the impetus to get our species 'multiplanet' looks like it will continue to come from the private sector.

I personally think sending 1,000,000 souls to Mars is nuts, primarily because Mars cannot be terraformed, as it lacks a magnetosphere. But who knows, "cannot" is not a word Musk understands, maybe he'll make one from Tesla batteries.

Babak Makkinejad

I was thinking that the release of detailed designs of Project Orion could indpire improved designs for space vehicles based on nuclear power. Chemical rockets are not up to the task of exploring the solar system, much less the star systems. But who would agree to putting hydrogen bombs in Earth's orbit?


Interesting technology, it's indeed utterly silly to have a rocket carrying it's own oxidizer supply for the part of trajectory where it is still in the atmosphere and which is the hardest w.r.t. acceleration.


Here Here! Young was the real deal, even among those having the Right Stuff. He could fly a space ship very very well, understood the centrality of safety, had a sense of humor, took the long view, & kept at it all life-long. I hope the program can keep his attitude alive.


Not as silly as you might think. Rockets going to orbit get up and out of the atmosphere ASAP to be free of it's drag. 40,000 ft in the first minute and double that in another 30 seconds. The weight penalty of hauling all that extra plumbing isn't worth it considering it takes 8 to 9 minute to get to LEO. Simpler and cheaper to just carry the extra oxidizer. LOX is less than $1 a gallon. The propellants are less than 1% of the cost of a launch.

Lloyd D. Herod, Jr.

You have no memories of the repeated failure of the Vanguards on the Launch pads? Until Von Braun took over with his (and the Army's) Juno (modified Jupiter-C) the US was unable to orbit anything. Vanguards had 3 successful launches for 8 failures. Rocketry is extremely expensive. Musk reminds me of D. D. Harriman of Robert Heinlein's "The Man Who Sold the Moon". I wonder if Musk had read the book as a child? Perhaps the Col.remembers the Heinlein book?

Lloyd D. Herod, Jr.

Chemical rockets are presently the only way to put sizeable objects into earth orbit. And every object of any useful size that has been put into orbit used chemical engines to get there. The idea of using an Orion booster to place a payload into earth orbit is, well, a bit bonkers. Can you imagine the effects of multiple nuclear detonations at or near ground level? Not to mention it would be a violation of the Test Ban treaty. Orion would be practical only when used in deep space. Other propulsion systems (ion propulsion for example) only become practical once you get everything into vacuum. For those interested in the Orion drive, The author John Ringo has written a series of SF, which he calls the Troy Rising series which posits the space use of an Orion drive ship.

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for your comments.

I am aware of the issues regarding using Orion-type design for putting things in Earth's Orbit and I am aware of the TBT etc.

You are, in fact, agreeing with me, that progress in space exploration cannot be made since we hate one another; cannot trust the other side - and for good reasons - to not introduce a weapons platform into Earth's Orbit.

I mentioned Project Orion in order to indicate that if its designs are de-classified, smart people could refine them and improve upon them. Project Orion, in my personal opinion and based on Internet sources, is a viable stating point for a trip to nearest stars within a human life time.

Chemical rockers, as you suggest, could be used to assemble it in space - say around the moon.

I also had mentioned nuclear-powered ion ships; making the propellant particle's mass smaller, delivers more thrust on an ongoing basis.

My wider point is that you cannot go into space without nuclear power.


The design issue with Orion is the nukes and their exact output. Neither will be de-classified and i expect the rest to be not much further than the napkin design stage.

ps. What do you mean with nuclear power. Fussion, Fishion or decay. The only nuclear power source AFAIK that has been used in space is decay and decay has serious max. power issues.


Dera Colonel and Laura,

Definitely better than the one in Buellton!

Babak Makkinejad



I assume only during the propulsion phase of a mission as getting cooling is a very hard problem in space. It also needs to be a very big ship to make it economical compared to solar powered ion engines

Bill Herschel

You want technology. Try this:


The title does not even remotely give the subject justice. Computers have been the best chess players in the world for 20 years. The computer described in the article was given the rules of chess, played itself for 4 hours--that's it--and proceeded to beat all the best computers handily. It had previously beaten the best human and computer Go players.

This is something completely new. This hasn't existed before. The possibilities are endless.

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