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Blue Origin and SpaceX news at IAC
#1
Man, it's hard to concentrate today.

Rob Myerson, president of Blue Origin, just gave a talk this morning at IAC 2016 (Internatinoal Astronautical Congress) in Guadalejara.  There wasn't a lot of new news there, except that it's clear Blue Origin has its eye on the big picture: the Moon, Mars, and "millions of people living and working in space" (which is long the mantra of orbital space settlement enthusiasts).  See Alan Boyle's report for more.

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And now, in about 5 minutes, Elon Musk is going to start his presentation, "Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species."  It's widely reported that he will provide details on his plan to settle Mars, including routine flights ferrying 100 tons (or 100 colonists) every 2 years.  Supposedly this will be live streamed, though since early this morning, the stream has shown me nothing but an animated logo.  (Edit: but it's also available on SpaceX's website here.)

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So, yeah... it's a bit hard to focus today.  Smile

Joe Strout
Lead Developer, High Frontier

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#2
I'm still absorbing it all.  Pretty amazing stuff.

I was a little disappointed at how Musk completely glossed over the health risk of cosmic radiation.  He said it might cause "slightly increased risk of cancer"... but from the sources I've read, it would be substantially increased, along with cataracts and infertility too.  Cosmic rays are the sort of thing you can tolerate for a few days or weeks without a serious problem, but the damage is cumulative.  Living in them for years is going to cause serious problems.

On the other hand, I was pleased that he did mention the Moon at several points.  He's not completely ignorant of it; it apparently just doesn't count towards his goal of becoming a "multi-planetary species," I guess because it's not orbiting a different planet.  That's a goal that will seem quite quaint someday, when most of humanity isn't living on a planet or moon at all.  But still, it's a reasonable near-term goal, and he acknowledge that the Moon could have a part to play (and I think will end up playing a much bigger part than he currently believes).

But in the end, any space development is good space development.  This aggressive Mars program will lead to more economic activity in space than ever before, and that will present myriad opportunities to develop even further.  Musk and Bezos, perhaps with Richard Branson, are poised to revolutionize space, inspire a whole new generation, and finally start expanding humanity into space.  Hooray!

Joe Strout
Lead Developer, High Frontier

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