T-minus 10...9...8... and we have lift off of the Dragonship Endeavor! Okay so it wasn't those exact words, but SpaceX did make history when they launched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on the 30th of May.
If you didn't see the live stream you can catch the recap here but I do recommend watching the full stream, just fast foward to the key parts.
I watched it and it was awesome to be witnessing history like that. I had my son, wife and my dog Jarvis watching along side with me. I can only imagine what it was like seeing the Apollo missions that landed Neil Armstrong on the moon.
I won't be detailing the launch as there have been several articles written about it to date included a decent one on Business Insider and I think you can see the news was known around the globe.
One funny thing I will mention is that SpaceX mentioned on their stream that you too can see what it's like to dock the Dragon with the International Space Station (ISS) online for free. It was fun and I recommend you try it, no instructions, just give it a go. My first attempt with my younger brother did not go well at all as we flung Dragon around even failing to crash it into the ISS.
Let's get to the point. Endeavor is docked. What's next for SpaceX already happened as they launched shortly after dropping starlink satellites into orbit while landing the reused Falcon9 rocket onto a brand new drone ship. We are used to seeing "Of Course We Still Love You" catching the falcons from the sky, but now we have "Just Read the Instructions" joining the ASDS fleet (Atonomous Spaceport Droneship). We also know the return flight of the Dragon is the next key milestone.
With that being said, Elon Musk has recently stated that Starship is now SpaceX's top priority which means that all eyes are on the Moon and Mars from this point. Mastering the Starship and visiting both celestial bodies will be no small task of course and getting humans there a fair bit after. Consider SpaceX first got into orbit in 2008 with the Falcon 1, the Falcon 9 in 2010, dragon capsule in 2012 and then got humans in a crew dragon in 2020, 8 years later.
That's not to suggest that there's going to be another 8 years until SpaceX gets humans up there again but just some context on the flow of things. There is a bit of time between now and humans getting to moon or mars.
This brings me to my idea that I'm giving to Elon Musk and SpaceX for free. Please share this with them if you think it's a good idea.
First thing Elon and SpaceX should do on Mars
Elon has always said that part of the purpose of SpaceX is to get people excited about space again, particularly the next generation. Well for people to be excited about going to a place, they need to relate to it, see it is a possibility, even though its completely new, a literal other world, it needs to be familiar.
The completely new part is covered - Mars. The possibility is covered by Elon already - showing reusable rockets, sending humans, creating starship, etc. and for familiarity?
Well let me use simple logic here - when you move into a new house and invite people over before you even have furniture, what is the first thing people ask about?
Do you have water? gas? electricity? a fridge?
Think Maslows hierarchy of needs. Do you have everything you need to survive?
And this I see as the focus, we are going to make habitats, get water from atmosphere, farm, make food, use solar for electricity. Great. Good. Necessary.
But that's not exactly exciting. Let me ask a new question, same scenario, new home, etc.
What's the first question a child is going to ask?
WHAT'S THE WIFI PASSWORD?
Wait, thats not on Maslows hierarchy of needs? Correct. And it really isn't. But it is the first thing the younger generation wants to know AHEAD of food, shelter, electricity and running water.
So what's my bright idea?
Put WiFi on Mars.
Put WiFi on Mars. I'm talking a basic home router dell, netgear, belkin, whatever you recognize as your generic home modem/router. Then to really prove it you need to tweet back to Earth from Mars. Literally show that if you went to Mars, you'd already have WiFi and you would already be connected.
In fact, share the WiFi password as part of the marketing. Pick some cool phrase or nod to pop culture in typical Elon fashion.
I think it would be both hilarious and actually insightful, deploying some kit, establishing internet comms, with everyone experiencing the lockdowns this year they will feel comfort for the future of Mars having Earth's internet beamed to it.
Okay so it isn't all fun and games, there are some technical things to solve here (which is actually the fun and games for Engineers) so it's a win-win. Deploy some of those awesome Starlink satellites as part of the mission.
It would be a little tongue in cheek at the priorities of todays era while giving some comfort and excitement at the prospect of WiFi level internet on Mars.
So now you've heard my pitch, what do you think?
If you think its good be sure share this article so it gets the attention needed to grab Elon, SpaceX's and NASA's attention.
If not, be sure to share this article so it gets the attention needed to grab Elon and SpaceX's attention for a good laugh.
But let's do it! Let's have our say in the mission to mars!