The Space Race? Fair compensation for baby boomers

Elon Musk's Space-X exploits not only rejuvenate and privatize the conquest of Mars and the Moon, but make the dreams of the 60s possible

What better vision of the future that was stolen from us than that of Stanley Kubrick in the cinematic masterpiece "2001 A Space Odyssey"?
What better vision of the future that was stolen from us than that of Stanley Kubrick in the cinematic masterpiece "2001 A Space Odyssey"?

Striking these days the sharpening of intergenerational controversy with one main argument: the climate. But this is not there first generation to which they have, so to speak, "stole the future".
When we were boys (or girls) us "boomers" of the 60s, we had been offered a future in the cosmos. In 2001 we would have had the orbital planes, rotating space station, base on the moon.
We would traveled in space for business or tourism. All of that deflated like a balloon with the end of the race to our satellite and the return to low orbit missions by both contenders: the Americans they were no longer scared, the Soviets they had lost the race and concentrated their efforts elsewhere.
And the Vietnam war cost much more than one mission to Mars (but critics of space research never remember the military spending, superior by several orders of magnitude: who knows why…).
Between the XNUMXs and XNUMXs we watched terrified at the merciless end of the Shuttle program, with two frightening and equally predictable incidents, indicating how to the NASA they had lost sight of the goal.

Those "dark realities" full of (new) mysteries about the cosmos

An evidently satisfied Elon Musk: is he fulfilling his dream of dying of old age on Mars? Posterity will judge
An evidently satisfied Elon Musk: is he fulfilling his dream of dying of old age on Mars? Posterity will judge

And NASA resorted to the aging Soyuz (Russian) for a launcher

They followed sad two decades, at least for those who have a little passion for the subject, in which however the ISS was built (International Space Station) which served to keep the search going , training of new astronauts.
But NASA no longer had a launcher for crews, had to pay a salty ticket to Russia for each mission and have their own astronauts travel on a capsule, the Soyuz, which, however robust and reliable, dated back to a project by sixty years ago.
Then he came: the visionary, the eclectic and not, not at all overrated, Elon Musk.
I won't list what he has done in other fields, a Wikipedia page is enough for this. Let's focus instead on what he managed to do for the space research with the Space-X.
Despite all the experts denied the technological possibility in a short time, he had the Falcons built, low-orbit launchers capable of self-landing the first stage after launch. Like in the movies of science fiction from the 50s, even better.

He made such launchers suitable for the transport of crews (surpassing all the new, very high, safety criteria) thus allowing NASA and its allies to free yourself from dependence on Russia for launches to the ISS.
Una new space capsule was born for the transport of both goods and people, the Dragon, conceived and designed, finally, with the today's technologies.
He created the heavy version (heavy) of Falcon launcher, equipped with additional two boosters (support rockets) also capable of land independently. The Falcon Heavy is a "average" pitcher capable of carrying loads well beyond low orbit (such as the yummy demo made with one Tesla Roadster launched towards Mars, still in orbit between the two planets).

Yes in Bologna to the strategic forum for the aerospace supply chain

The International Space Station (the International Space Station in Italian), in orbit around the Earth since 1998. It is expected to return - controlled - by 2028, unless some private individual decides to ... buy it?
The International Space Station (the International Space Station in Italian), in orbit around the Earth since 1998. It is expected to return - controlled - by 2028, unless some private individual decides to ... buy it?

A vector 120 meters high (!) and with a diameter of 9 for the future

He's building an even more sci-fi spaceship, Starship, already approved by NASA to bring theman on the moon. Currently in testing, it will be the more powerful launch system never created by man, totally reusable, and will be able depending on the configuration to carry crews of 100 people to Mars.
To give you a sense of proportion:
Il F he is a high pitcher 55 meters and the diameter of 3,66 meters;
Il Falcon Heavy he is a high pitcher 70 meters and the diameter of 3,66 meters;
La Starship he will be a high pitcher 120 meters and the diameter of 9 meters. Steel (!)… The spaceship itself, or the second stage, is high 50 meters.

Podcast, forty visionary years of Elon Musk from the Web to Mars

The Moon and Mars represent man's new goals of conquest
The Moon and Mars represent man's new goals of conquest

The space economy is a new frontier at hand

All these technologies are aimed at make space travel increasingly cheap and safe, also within the reach of non-professionals.
Regardless of the results (however exceptional) obtained with space-X, Elon Musk it also has the merit of having “awakened” a market which was still struggling to take off, thespatial economy.
Such an economy requires a great vision ability, as it can only be developed with large investments both monetary and temporal, exactly atopposite of "all at once" that deceives so many self-styled entrepreneurs.
A vision ability that until now was exclusive to large space agencies, however limited by politics: significant in this regard the wonderful series “For All Mankind” available AppleTV +, where one imagines a alternative history in which the USSR would beat the USA in the race for the Moon, causing an acceleration of the space race such to bring in 70s of the last century the first fixed outposts on the our satellite and in 90 years the first mission to the Red Planet. Science fiction? Until a certain point.
Supporters of the conspiracy that denies the lunar landing they often use as an argument the technological level of the time, which he would not have allowed a real journey to 400.000 km from our planet.
Forgetting that when she is well motivated humanity actually manages to accomplish them, miracles, running risks that today would be considered unacceptable.
Someone today turns up their nose in front of this “privatization” of space, perhaps forgetting that the real space age will be born only when space becomes not just cheap, but also essential for the future. And such it is, despite those who persist in looking at their shoes.

NASA and ESA central even at the time of private companies

Then there is to add that privatization is and will remain partial and agencies like NASA ed ESA they will always keep a leading role.
THEspatial economy, as well as that related to scientific experiments long-lasting (e.g. theLHC, the 27-kilometer particle accelerator in Geneva, the future FCC from 100 km, the interferometers for gravitational waves like the Italian one Virgo, the same ISS, the project ITER for controlled nuclear fusion) is an economy large-scale and long-lastingable to move huge capitals for long and very long-term projects.
And it's an economy of hope, in a sense: if with the uncontrolled population growthwe risk make it less habitable for us the same our planet, in the medium to long term we can hope to expand our living spaces in the whole Solar System (obviously we are talking about secular perspectives), both through land-forming projects, both through the construction of very large orbiting modules around the Earth or the Moon.
Without forgetting about another fundamental aspect: almost all the most advanced technologies that we use derived from space research, From military research and from basic research: Therefore we won't have to wait decades or hundreds of years for the positive effects, the fruits of which we are already enjoying today.

The future is already here: always to be understood, never to be wasted…

 

Glossary
Launcher: in astronautics, the vector or launcher is a missile, i.e. a vehicle propelled by a particular type of engine called rocket or end-jet. This type of missile is the means used to send a certain payload into space which can consist of astronauts, satellites, interplanetary probes, supply modules for orbiting space bases.
Low orbit: a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is an orbit around the Earth at an altitude between the atmosphere and the van Allen belts, i.e. between 300 and 1.000 km.
First stage: a launcher consists of several "stages" (2-4), each propelled by one or more rockets to provide thrust only for part of the overall journey.
Capsule: a spacecraft, in astronautics, is a vehicle capable of traveling in space. The generic term "spacecraft" applies to both unmanned and manned vehicles. Among the various types of manned spacecraft we have the capsule, such as the Mercury, the Gemini, the Apollo (with which we went to the Moon), the Russian Soyuz, the Chinese Shenzhou.
Interferometer: in physics, a device based on the use of light rays or lasers or accelerated particles, for the study of electromagnetic or gravitational waves.

Those light pulses that alter… the properties of solids

The Virgo interferometer in the Pisan plain, near Cascina, theater of the discovery of gravitational waves. Who would expect that among the spin-off technologies of such a project there were also renewable energies?
The Virgo interferometer in the Pisan plain, near Cascina, theater of the discovery of gravitational waves. Who would expect that among the spin-off technologies of such a project there were also renewable energies?