Mission Mars

By Sujith Mohandas (LMB)

Man’s first step towards mission mars

We humans were always curious about what is up there in the skies. We always wanted to know what it would be like to be in a planet other than mars. From the Stone Age man made observation using stars and planets location. And this throughout the passing decades have led to many discoveries. First sun then moon them planets then the solar system and galaxy and the universe and so on. Many postulated the origin of our universe, some consider the Big bang theory to be the reason behind it and some say it’s due to the steady state theory. And these mentioned theories are just one of many theories suggested for the origin of the universe. In short our curiosity is never ending.

Brief Detail of the Solar System

In order to know more about the universe, humans realised that, just by observing from Earth would only lead to knowledge which is very limited and may be inaccurate. With industrial age coming to play and our advancement in technology made us believe that we surely can reach the outer space. Through continue study research and dedication, the first satellite Sputnik I got launched on October 4th 1957. This was a history in making as now mankind could see earth from outer space. And then a man named Yuri Gagarin became the first human to journey into outer space when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961.

Buzz Aldrin and US Flag on the Moon

The major milestone which happened in our voyage to learn about outer space came when American astronaut Niel Armstrong became the first man to step on the moon. Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that landed the first two humans on the Moon. Mission commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin, both American, landed the lunar module Eagle on July 20, 1969. After this lot of space mission were carried out and lots of satellites were launched. However the technological advancement in terms of space technology became stagnant. For almost two decades there was no major innovation in rocket technology. The cost for launching satellites became too costly and once the launching rockets were utilised they couldn’t be reused.

This was realized by Elon Musk the tech entrepreneur whom everyone knows for his all electric vehicle company Tesla, and he started researching about how the rocket already used to launch satellites can be reused to launch them again. He realized that of this plan can be made possible then the cost of launching satellites will drop down drastically. He further added to the idea that mankind needs to find an alternative planet to live in as he feels earth will get overpopulated and resources might get depleted.

Brief Description of the SpaceX Launching Vehicles and comparison with space shuttle

So along with his team, he founded the company called Space Exploration Technologies Corp., also known as SpaceX in 2002 with the goal of reducing space transportation costs and enabling the colonization of Mars. SpaceX’s achievements include the first privately funded liquid-propellant rocket to reach orbit (Falcon 1 in 2008), the first privately funded company to successfully launch, orbit, and recover a spacecraft (Dragon in 2010), the first private company to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station (Dragon in 2012), the first propulsive landing for an orbital rocket (Falcon 9 in 2015), the first reuse of an orbital rocket (Falcon 9 in 2017), and the first privately funded space agency to launch an object into solar orbit (Falcon Heavy’s payload of a Tesla Roadster in 2018).

Falcon Heavy’s maiden launch on February 6, 2018 at  Kennedy Space Centre Launch Complex 39A

The last launch of SpaceX was a major achievement for the company as the Falcon Heavy now holds the title for the world’s most powerful rocket, and its launch marks the first time a vehicle this massive has ever been sent up by a commercial company. It boasts 27 engines, more than any other working rocket has ever used, which together create a combined 5 million pounds of thrust at lift off. That means the Falcon Heavy can put around 140,000 pounds of cargo into lower Earth orbit, more than twice as much weight as any other operational rocket. This powerful vehicle could open up entirely new types of business for SpaceX: launching heavy national security satellites or even sending large modules or people into deep space.

Tesla Roadster floating in the outer space, launched by the Falcon Heavy, highest payload ever delivered in outer space

This is the first step towards realizing that humans can be sent to deep outer space and human colonization is quite possible in near future. Musk revealed some of his plans for other SpaceX projects, peppered with the optimistic time frames he’s known for declaring. For starters, he said that the second version of the Dragon capsule, which can carry human crew to space is nearly ready for prime time. “We’re aspiring to fly a crew to orbit at the end of this year,” Musk said. Musk’s long-term vision is to terraform Mars — re-engineer our neighboring planet as “a nice place to be” — and allow humans to become a multi-planetary species. Sounds awesome — but not to everyone.

Now this idea does bring dystopian thoughts to some people, like leaving earth as one day or the other it going to get doomed and how would we survive in mars. There will be some people sufficiently appalled by the idea that they decide to take illegal action to interfere with it. Well there has always been miracle in human lives and we hope that it continues to happen. We humans have known to sustain harsh times and we are hopeful of doing so in the near future too. May the force be with all of us.