11 results back to index
Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX by Eric Berger
3D printing, Colonization of Mars, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, fear of failure, inflight wifi, intermodal, Jeff Bezos, low earth orbit, Mercator projection, multiplanetary species, risk tolerance, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Tesla Model S
“It was like having two children,” Musk said. “I could not bring myself to let one of the companies die.” In Musk’s worldview, he could not let either venture go. Tesla was needed to save Earth from climate change, helping to break humans from their fossil fuel addiction. And SpaceX would offer a backup plan by making humanity a multiplanetary species. He split his money between the two companies. Amid these bleak financial times, SpaceX had one final card to play. In 2006, NASA had come through with critical funding for the company after the failure of the first Falcon 1, betting that SpaceX would eventually figure out how to reach orbit.
His argument for reuse is simple: If an airline discarded a 747 jet after every transcontinental flight, passengers would have to pay $1 million for a ticket. Similarly, if every rocket flown into space drops into the ocean, space will remain cost prohibitive for all but a few wealthy nations and a few exclusive astronauts. To make humanity a multiplanetary species, Musk sought to lower the cost of getting into space and flying onward to other worlds. The early returns on the reuse experiment were, nonetheless, sobering. “We were very naive at the time, but the expectation was that we would throw a parachute on this thing and recover it,” Musk said.
And when they did that, the Department of Defense realized that they could either be a part of that, or they could be left behind.” So many people like Chinnery felt burned out by their years at SpaceX because Musk pushed them relentlessly. His schedules were invariably aggressive. Time was money. This window to reach Mars and make humanity a multiplanetary species, Musk fears, may not remain open forever. And Musk’s own lifetime was finite. This brutal devotion to speed got results. The first Falcon 1 launch attempt came a mere three years and ten months after Musk started SpaceX. The company reached “space” in four years and ten months. It made orbit in six years and four months.
The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos by Christian Davenport
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Burning Man, Charles Lindbergh, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, high net worth, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, life extension, low earth orbit, Mark Zuckerberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, multiplanetary species, obamacare, old-boy network, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, private space industry, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Savings and loan crisis, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, X Prize, zero-sum game
“When I was a kid I found the slideshows kind of tedious, but maybe it stuck in some way. Now I’d like to see the slideshow. But as a kid I was, like, ‘I want to go play with my friends. Why are you showing me these slides of the desert?’” In founding SpaceX, Musk believed that in addition to trying to make humans a multiplanetary species—with the ultimate goal of sending people to Mars—he saw space travel as the greatest adventure ever, even greater than the quixotic searches for the Lost City. Although there was, as he said, the “defensive reason” to go to Mars to colonize another planet—so that humanity would have another place to go in case anything happened to Earth—this was not what inspired him to go to Mars.
Now Elon—always the one name—was the new face of the American space program, the embodiment of exploration, a modern-day amalgam of JFK and Neil Armstrong, with 10 million Twitter followers. The press room in Guadalajara was overflowing with reporters who had come from all over the world for this long-awaited speech, titled “Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species,” in which Musk would, finally, lay out his plan to colonize Mars. In the months leading up to Guadalajara, he disclosed some of the details, telling the Washington Post that he intended to build a transportation system to the Red Planet like the railroads that traversed the United States, with the goal of the first humans landing on Mars in 2025.
After the launch, an emotional Musk called it “an incredible milestone in the history of space,” one that SpaceX had been working toward for fifteen years. This, he said, would be what would ultimately lower the cost of spaceflight, perhaps by a factor of a hundred or more—“the key to opening up space, and becoming a spacefaring civilization, a multiplanetary species and having the future be incredibly exciting and inspiring.” AS IT RECOVERED from its explosion and moved through 2017, SpaceX screamed ahead, full force, racing through its backlog of seventy missions, worth some $10 billion. With six thousand employees, it at one point flew back-to-back missions within forty-eight hours, as it gobbled up a larger share of the international launch market.
The Moon: A History for the Future by Oliver Morton
Charles Lindbergh, commoditize, Dava Sobel, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, facts on the ground, gravity well, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, low earth orbit, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, multiplanetary species, Norman Mailer, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, UNCLOS, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize
Robert Zubrin, an aerospace engineer who in 1998 founded the Mars Society, sees the settlement that the society advocates as a way—perhaps the only way—to regain a cultural vigour he thinks was lost with the closing of the American frontier at the end of the 19th century. Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and, as I write, probably the world’s most talked-about entrepreneur, sees Mars as a hedge against existential all-eggs-in-the-same-basket disasters. In a messy mix of cosmic compassion and messianic self-belief, Mr Musk is set on making humanity a multiplanetary species, and Mars—eventually, a terraformed Mars—is the first step on that road. Its mixture of mystique, new challenges and science has ensured that whenever the US government sets out long-term space plans, human feet on the sands of Mars are always in the mix. They were there in the Space Exploration Initiative proposed by George H.
Something has to happen next, and a ship of artists from around the world is no worse an idea than any other, and better than quite a few. MR MAEZAWA’S TRIP IS TO BE PROVIDED BY ELON MUSK. MR Musk has, in the past, been somewhat sniffy about space tourism. When he founded his company SpaceX in 2003 it was to do real things: to launch satellites, to sell services, to reinvent the human condition by making Homo sapiens a multiplanetary species. Package holidays for plutocrats were not part of the plan. As a provider of practical services to industry and government, SpaceX has succeeded beyond almost all expectation. In the ten years since September 2008, when, at its fourth attempt, SpaceX finally launched its first satellite, the company has gone from triumph to triumph.
Tumlinson with Medlicott (2005) brings together many reasons and plans for the Return; helium 3 is discussed in Spudis (1996); Dennis Wingo makes the case for platinum from the Moon in Wingo (2004); the National Academy of Sciences (2007) and the Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (2016) set out the scientific rationale. The idea of America as a second creation is explored in Nye (2003). CHAPTER VI The quotation from the Saturday Review is from Barnouw (1970). For Elon Musk’s achievements and character, see Vance (2015), and for what was the latest version of his infrastructure for a multiplanetary species (but will probably be superseded by the time you read this), see Musk (2018). Robert Zubrin’s Moon proposal is Zubrin (2018). Miller et al (2015) is a fascinating analysis of a public-private Return to the Moon. CHAPTER VII A version of the BOLAS idea is described in Stubbs et al (2018); the charms of Rima Bode are described in Spudis and Richards (2018).
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
addicted to oil, Burning Man, cleantech, digital map, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, global supply chain, Hyperloop, industrial robot, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Mercator projection, money market fund, multiplanetary species, optical character recognition, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, paypal mafia, performance metric, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize
The planet has been heated up and transformed to suit humans. Musk fully intends to try and make this happen. Turning humans into space colonizers is his stated life’s purpose. “I would like to die thinking that humanity has a bright future,” he said. “If we can solve sustainable energy and be well on our way to becoming a multiplanetary species with a self-sustaining civilization on another planet—to cope with a worst-case scenario happening and extinguishing human consciousness—then,” and here he paused for a moment, “I think that would be really good.” If some of the things that Musk says and does sound absurd, that’s because on one level they very much are.
Fearing one of his enemies was trying to orchestrate an elaborate setup, Cantrell told Musk to meet him at the Salt Lake City airport, where he would rent a conference room near the Delta lounge. “I wanted him to meet me behind security so he couldn’t pack a gun,” Cantrell said. When the meeting finally took place, Musk and Cantrell hit it off. Musk rolled out his “humans need to become a multiplanetary species” speech, and Cantrell said that if Musk was really serious, he’d be willing to go to Russia—again—and help buy a rocket. In late October 2001, Musk, Cantrell, and Adeo Ressi, Musk’s friend from college, boarded a commercial flight to Moscow. Ressi had been playing the role of Musk’s guardian and trying to ascertain whether his best friend had started to lose his mind.
These are people who in childhood exhibit exceptional intellectual depth and max out IQ tests. It’s not uncommon for these children to look out into the world and find flaws—glitches in the system—and construct logical paths in their minds to fix them. For Musk, the call to ensure that mankind is a multiplanetary species partly stems from a life richly influenced by science fiction and technology. Equally it’s a moral imperative that dates back to his childhood. In some form, this has forever been his mandate. Each facet of Musk’s life might be an attempt to soothe a type of existential depression that seems to gnaw at his every fiber.
The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler
Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, blood diamonds, Burning Man, call centre, cashless society, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, computer vision, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, digital twin, disruptive innovation, Edward Glaeser, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, experimental economics, food miles, game design, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, hive mind, housing crisis, Hyperloop, impact investing, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, loss aversion, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mary Lou Jepsen, mass immigration, megacity, meta-analysis, microbiome, mobile money, multiplanetary species, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, out of africa, packet switching, peer-to-peer lending, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, QR code, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart contracts, smart grid, Snapchat, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Tesla Model S, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize
Think how incredible and dynamic that civilization will be.” And even though there’s a heathy rivalry here, Elon Musk doesn’t disagree: “History is going to bifurcate along two directions: One path is we stay on Earth forever, and then there will be some eventual extinction event… the alternative is to become a spacefaring civilization and a multiplanetary species. I think the future is vastly more exciting and interesting if we’re a spacefaring civilization and a multi-planet species, than if we’re not.” Born in Pretoria, South Africa, Musk sold his first computer company at age twelve. After earning a degree from Wharton, then dropping out of Stanford’s PhD program, he repeated his software success with first a $307 million sale of Zip2, next a $1.5 billion sale of PayPal.
Finally, with what he considered sufficient resources to make a difference, Musk set out to pursue what he considered the two missions most critical to our survival: breaking our fossil fuel addiction with a thriving solar economy—i.e., his work with Tesla and Solar Cities—and making humanity a multiplanetary species. But unlike Bezos’s lunar launch point for this migration, Musk’s obsession has always been Mars. In 2001, a year before the sale of PayPal, Musk came up with the idea of sending a plant—plant seeds, really—to Mars. In his “Mars Oasis” project, his spaceship would include a sealed chamber with an Earth-like atmosphere, a healthy collection of seeds, and a nutrient gel to speed their growth.
Think Like a Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life by Ozan Varol
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Andrew Wiles, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Arthur Eddington, autonomous vehicles, Ben Horowitz, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, dark matter, delayed gratification, different worldview, discovery of DNA, double helix, Elon Musk, fear of failure, functional fixedness, Gary Taubes, George Santayana, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Inbox Zero, index fund, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johannes Kepler, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, late fees, lateral thinking, lone genius, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, meta-analysis, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, multiplanetary species, obamacare, Occam's razor, out of africa, Peter Thiel, Pluto: dwarf planet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, salary depends on his not understanding it, Sam Altman, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, sunk-cost fallacy, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, Yogi Berra
“We sleep easy knowing that next year’s software will be better than this year’s,” Musk explains, but “rockets’ [cost] actually gets progressively worse every year.”2 Musk wasn’t the first to spot this trend. But he was among the first to do something about it. He launched SpaceX—short for Space Exploration Technologies—with the audacious goal of colonizing Mars and making humanity a multiplanetary species. But Musk’s deep pockets weren’t enough to buy rockets on the American or the Russian market. He pitched venture capitalists, but they were a hard bunch to convince. “Space is pretty far out of the comfort zone of just about every VC on Earth,” Musk explained. He refused to let his friends invest, because he believed the company had only a 10 percent chance of success.
Aerospace consultant Jim Cantrell, recalling their initial encounters, thought Musk was out of his mind.52 When Musk first began thinking about a Mars mission, he called Cantrell out of the blue, introduced himself as an internet billionaire, and told Cantrell about his plans to create a “multiplanetary species.” Musk offered to fly his private jet to Cantrell’s house, but Cantrell said no. “Tell you the truth,” Cantrell recalls, “I wanted to meet him in a place where he couldn’t bring a weapon.” So they met at an airport lounge in Salt Lake City. As wild as Musk’s vision sounded, it was too tantalizing.
Moon Rush: The New Space Race by Leonard David
agricultural Revolution, Colonization of Mars, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Google X / Alphabet X, gravity well, Jeff Bezos, life extension, low earth orbit, multiplanetary species, out of africa, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, telepresence, telerobotics
If they had gone to space, how would the world have looked today?” He believes that trips to the Moon can be a part of everyone’s future. “I will be heading to the Moon,” Maezawa says—“just a little earlier than everyone else.” Musk’s “Moon Base Alpha” is part of his master plan for Mars colonization. He envisions us as a multiplanetary species in the not-too-distant future, traveling via a SpaceX fleet labeled the Interplanetary Transport System. “We should have a lunar base by now,” Musk recently said, speaking during a meeting of the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia. “What the hell is going on?” He has reiterated his plans to send people to the Moon and Mars and reinforced his commitment to build and fly a fully reusable two-stage rocket capable of heaving 150 metric tons into low Earth orbit, a booster far larger than the Apollo-era Saturn V launcher.
A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage
Berlin Wall, British Empire, Colonization of Mars, Copley Medal, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Eratosthenes, European colonialism, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, joint-stock company, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Lao Tzu, multiplanetary species, out of africa, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade
This, together with the search for extraterrestrial life (which is also assumed to depend on water), explains why so much effort is being put into locating and understanding the distribution of water on other bodies in the solar system. Some scientists even believe that colonizing Mars is necessary to ensure the continued survival of humanity. Only by becoming a "multiplanetary species," they argue, can we truly guard against the possibility of being wiped out by war, disease, or a mass extinction caused by an asteroid or comet crashing into the Earth. But that will depend on finding supplies of water on other worlds. Water was the first drink to steer the course of human history; now, after ten thousand years, it seems to be back in the driving seat.
The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success by Ross Douthat
Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AI winter, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Burning Man, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, charter city, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, David Graeber, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, East Village, Elon Musk, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, ghettoisation, gig economy, Haight Ashbury, helicopter parent, hive mind, Hyperloop, immigration reform, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Islamic Golden Age, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, life extension, mass immigration, mass incarceration, means of production, megacity, microaggression, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, multiplanetary species, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Norman Mailer, obamacare, Oculus Rift, open borders, out of africa, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, pre–internet, QAnon, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Snapchat, social web, Steve Bannon, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, wage slave, WeWork, women in the workforce, Y2K
At a certain point, we’ll clear the bottleneck, and it will become clear that our era was a necessary prelude to renewed acceleration—eventually giving us self-driving cars courtesy of a finally profitable Uber, a Mars colony courtesy of the Elon Musk–Jeff Bezos space race, and radical life extension courtesy of Google’s longevity lab or some other zillionaire who can’t imagine shuffling off this mortal coil. All of this could happen on a scale that would be world altering without having the truly utopian scenarios come to pass. Terraforming Mars and becoming a multiplanetary species may be unattainable for now—but just going to Mars would be a bigger leap for mankind than anything we’ve accomplished since Neil Armstrong. The hard problem of consciousness probably isn’t solvable by brain scans and increases in processing power, and so you and I probably won’t actually be uploading our very selves to the cloud—but that doesn’t mean that forms of artificial intelligence can’t radically transform the economy and render many if not most human forms of labor obsolete.
Rocket Billionaires: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the New Space Race by Tim Fernholz
Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, business climate, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, high net worth, Iridium satellite, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, Kim Stanley Robinson, low earth orbit, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, multiplanetary species, mutually assured destruction, new economy, nuclear paranoia, paypal mafia, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pets.com, planetary scale, private space industry, profit maximization, RAND corporation, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, sovereign wealth fund, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, trade route, undersea cable, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, X Prize, Y2K
“The reason I joined the company, one of the key differentiators of our culture, is intense mission focus,” Brian Bjelde, the company’s head of human resources, told me. In August 2003, Bjelde was the seventh employee at the company, and the program manager for the Falcon 1. “Elon founded this company to revolutionize access to space, with the ultimate goal of making humankind a multiplanetary species. There are a lot of people in the industry today that can rally behind that mission . . . and the focus is on Mars.” But the Falcon 1 was not designed to go straight to Mars. It was simply a first step toward the Red Planet. “It was to figure out the basics of rocketry,” Musk told me of the project.
Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve And/or Ruin Everything by Kelly Weinersmith, Zach Weinersmith
2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, connected car, disinformation, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Google Glasses, hydraulic fracturing, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, market design, megastructure, microbiome, moral hazard, multiplanetary species, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, personalized medicine, placebo effect, Project Plowshare, QR code, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, Skype, stem cell, Tunguska event
This is what really excites Mr. Faber: “I eventually got bored with racing solar cars, and hang gliding and windsurfing and such, and decided that the biggest benefit I could create for humanity, the most important thing that was going to happen in my lifetime was moving humanity off Earth and becoming a multiplanetary species or an interplanetary species.” We, uh . . . we’re also totally bored with racing and windsurfing, which is why we are sitting in this office editing this document . . . for humanity. SECTION 2 Stuff, Soonish 4. Fusion Power It Powers the Sun, and That’s Nice, but Can It Run My Toaster?
Realizing Tomorrow: The Path to Private Spaceflight by Chris Dubbs, Emeline Paat-dahlstrom, Charles D. Walker
Berlin Wall, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, desegregation, Donald Trump, Doomsday Book, Elon Musk, high net worth, Iridium satellite, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, Mark Shuttleworth, Mikhail Gorbachev, multiplanetary species, Nelson Mandela, Norman Mailer, private space industry, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technoutopianism, X Prize, young professional
That's kind of silly. My interest in space stems from thinking about what are the important problems facing humanity and life itself. The extension of life to multiple planets seems to be actually the most important thing that we could possibly do." The next big step for mankind is to be a multiplanetary species, and Musk thinks he's got the talent and the money to make it happen in our lifetime. Unlike most visionaries, Musk is more sobered by looking back at the challenges already met, than looking forward at those to come. During the interview, he described the difficult process of rocket development.