Tesla to Mars Orbit…and Slightly Beyond
There’s a Tesla car on its way to just beyond Mars’s orbit. It’s carrying a mannequin in a space suit in the driver’s seat, a copy of “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” in the glove box, and playing David Bowie music. It’s making people laugh and cry and feel hopeful about space access. How cool is that!
Doing something like this takes a lot of audacity, dreaming, and very hard work to do what SpaceX just did this afternoon. Their Falcon Heavy may not be exactly like the Saturn V or the Ariane rockets or the space shuttle, but it showed that we CAN move space access ahead. And, it can be done with a bit of flair and a sense of humor. I like it.
I’ve often thought about how intricate it is that SpaceX (and Blue Origin) have managed soft landings of their boosters. It used to be the stuff of science fiction. Now, it’s science and engineering fact. Today, the double-lobed landing (as I write this, we have no news of the third booster landing), was picture-perfect, showing that the future is here. Getting a cherry-red Tesla to space was audacious and funny. And hip.
None of this happened by magic or through prayers or chanting or just simply hoping. It happened because folks whose lives revolve around science, technology, engineering, math—and yes, art and music—did the hard work to plan and build all the aspects of the mission. They follow in the footsteps of others who did the same in the early days of the Space Race, through the Shuttle era, and into the days of the International Space Station. We’re all in a space-faring civilization, and launches like today’s are part of what we do when we set out minds to it. Falcon Heavy shows it can loft materials to space, and while it may never be used to send humans, it’s going to be a workhorse providing access to Earth orbit and beyond.
Congrats to SpaceX and all the folks who worked so hard to make it happen. Now, let’s get back to work and get to Mars and beyond!
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