Elon PayPal and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX).Elon PayPal and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX).

            Elon
Musk was born June 28, 1971 in the town Pretoria found in South Africa. He left
Africa because of his unwillingness to serve in the mandatory military that
supported apartheid. He also found greater business opportunity in the United
States. Musk is an American Entrepreneur. He is the founder of multiple
successful companies such as, TESLA Inc. (formally TESLA motors), PayPal and
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX). Musk received a Bachelors degree in
Physics and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

            Musk
came up with the idea that “for life to survive, humanity has to become a multiplanet
species” (Gregersen 2017), creating
a self-supported city on the planet Mars. In 2002, Musk decided to start
the company SpaceX. The company’s goal was to make more cost-efficient rockets,
due to the high costs of materials. The company “oversees
the development and manufacturing of advanced rockets and spacecraft for
missions to and beyond Earth orbit” (Shanklin 2017).

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SpaceX’s goal is
to send their first freight load to Mars in 2022. The goals of their first
mission is to establish that there is water on Mars, pinpoint toxic materials, and
put in place “initial power, mining, and life support infrastructure” (SpaceX
2016). A second mission, scheduled for 2024, will carry crew and cargo. Their
main objective of this mission is to build a rocket fuel depot and prepare
upcoming missions on Mars. The ships from the first missions will be used to
build the first base, which will be self-sustaining. 

            Mars is
a planet suitable to support life and is the most similar planet to our Earth.  It is about 53% of the Earth’s diameter, as
well as, 11% of the Earth’s mass. Mars has two moons: Deimos and Phobos. Its’ soil
contains water that can be extracted. Despite this, the water on Mars is
undrinkable, it drains into the ground and contains high levels of hydrated
salt known as perchlorate. The temperature of Mars greatly varies from day to
night and season to season. The temperature on Mars can decrease down to -195
degrees °F,
and in the summer get up to 70 °F. When man does inhabit Mars, solar
power will be a good source of energy as there is sufficient amounts of
sunlight. The percentage of gravity on Mars is 38% of Earth’s gravity, so that
humans can easily adjust. Mars has a thin protective atmosphere that shields
from comets and the sun’s radiation. The day and nights are also similar to
those on earth. One day on Mars is 39 minutes longer than one day on Earth. A
year on Mars is equivalent to nearly two years (1.88 years) on Earth. Mars
tilts on its axis at about a 25.2-degree angle. The Earth tilts at a 23.5-degree
angle. Therefore, comparing the angles of Earth’s and Mar’s tilts are very
similar. Mars orbit is 24.1 km/s, whereas, Earth’s orbit is 29.7 km/s. Mars and
Earth both have four seasons. In reference to the seasons on Mars, “During
the summer in the southern hemisphere, an annual dust storm occurs which blocks
most of the surface from view by satellites. During the fall, in the polar
regions, crystals of carbon dioxide form and so much of the atmosphere gets
absorbed that atmospheric pressure drops up to 30 percent as seasons transition
from fall to winter” … “The atmosphere
of Mars is 95 percent carbon dioxide and .13 percent oxygen and other gases”
(Rumble 2017).  The Earth’s carbon
dioxide level is .04% in comparison to Mar’s 95% level. Obviously the high
concentration of carbon dioxide would have to be addressed to sustain life. The surface of Mars contains plains, craters
and volcanos, much like the Earth.

Falcon 1 and
Falcon 9 were the first two rockets created by the company SpaceX. Falcon 1 was
first launched in 2006. Falcon 9 was launched in 2010. The third rocket designed
by the company SpaceX launched in 2017 is called Falcon Heavy. This model was
created to pack 53,000 kilograms which is equivalent to 117,000 pounds to
orbit. Another model SpaceX created was known as Dragon. This rocket was
created to fly supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). It is able to
carry up to seven astronauts. In 2012, SpaceX tested the technology of one of
their newer rockets, known as the Grasshopper. Musk is currently trying to
figure out how to cut down the expense of flights into space, by attempting to
make reusable spacecraft that can lift off and return to its original launch
pad, in tact due to the ability to withstand re-entry into the Earth’s
atmosphere. Musk is the chief designer for the construction of the Falcon,
Dragon and Grasshopper rockets.

On September 29th,
2017 Musk updated the public on the rocket that was designed for the mission on
Mars. Musk calls this rocket “BFR”. SpaceX stated on their website that, “A key
challenge with the original vehicle design was figuring out how to pay for it”
(SpaceX 2016). To address financial issues, their new design is a smaller
model. This will not only help cut down on the cost of the rocket, but it will
also be beneficial because with a smaller design is easier for the rocket to
orbit the Earth, the Moon and the planet Mars. The model “BFR” will replace the
previous models designed, such as Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon. “BFR” is
going to be more cost efficient than the previous models. The length of the
model “BFR” will be 106m, the booster length will be 58m and the booster thrust
is expected to be 52,700 kN. “BFR” is going to be a reusable model.  Upon arrival to Mars, “BFR” will enter the
atmosphere at a speed of 7.5 kilometers per second. “BFR” will slow down by using
the friction of the Mar’s atmosphere.  When
the rocket enters the atmosphere of Mars, it will be hot and the heat shield may
experience ablation.
The travel time to get to Mars is expected to take “39 minutes at a speed of about 18,000 mph (27,000 km/h)” by spaceship
(O’Kane 2017).

            In
conclusion, Elon Musk is a vital part of the upcoming exploration of Mars. It
would be nice to see Musk’s dream of establishing life on Mar’s become a
reality in his lifetime. Musk is very dedicated to the rockets he has developed,
and devoted to establishing cost-effective rockets, as well as, establishing
civilizations on Mars.  Human
populations will eventually have to leave the planet Earth, or possibly become
extinct. It is important that we start the journey now to preserve the human
race by finding another planet. Large sections of Earth eventually can be
consumed by earthquakes, volcanos, asteroids, etc., all of which are natural
disasters, not to mention the fact that when the Sun dies, the Earth will also
perish.