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Why has Elon Musk fired his Tesla to Mars?

(97 Posts)
Wanderwall Tue 06-Feb-18 21:50:34

It's an absolutely incredible achievement but what is the actual point of doing this?

Is it morally just to spend so much money on this when there are starving children in the world?

It blows my mind that one person can have so much when so many have so little.

McTufty Tue 06-Feb-18 21:53:39

Isn’t he testing out SpaceX rockets and used the car as the test dummy?

Whether you think exploring space and pushing the boundaries there is a good thing or not, I don’t think starving children really have anything to do with it.

FlibbertyGiblets Tue 06-Feb-18 21:53:41

He is pushing science boundaries. Space travel currently not profitable hence no govt interest imo.

SuperBeagle Tue 06-Feb-18 21:55:10

You could make the same argument about just about any scientific experiment/advancement at the time it was being conducted. It's often only with the benefit of hindsight/reflection that we realise the value of those things.

It has nothing at all to do with starving children. hmm

Singlikemiranda Tue 06-Feb-18 21:55:14

It's fascinating, been watching the live feed!

Fitzsimmons Tue 06-Feb-18 21:56:10

It's a test flight and they needed a big weight as part of the test. Eventually the rocket will be used to launch satellites (which we use for communication etc) but as there was a 50% chance of failure they didn't want to launch an actual satellite so they used a car to make sure they had the physics right.

Not sure what starving children have to do with it. Shall we halt all technological progress until world hunger has been banished?

Kursk Tue 06-Feb-18 21:56:36

It doesn’t have anything to do with children. It’s science. The rocket needed to be tested with weight in it.

Winterfellismyhome Tue 06-Feb-18 21:57:20

He also does loads for charity and is part of the giving pledge

"The Giving Pledge is a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy rather than bestow their fortunes to future generations in their own family.

Created in 2010 by notable philanthropist’s Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, Elon Musk added his name to the revered list in 2012 by promising at least 50 percent of his net worth. As it stands, that would mean Musk would be donating over $6 billion dollars to charity before he dies."

beachbodyunready Tue 06-Feb-18 21:58:15

I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will be along to explain it properly soon, but I believe that the car has been sent into space to rest the payload capacity. Apparently the rocket being used is going to be reusable and have a huge payload compared to the space shuttle and existing rockets which will mean that it could be used to transport items as large a double decker bus into space. This opens up massive possibilities and would allow for bigger satellites and equipment to be sent into space. However as it's it maiden voyage and there is a strong chance of it going wrong as it's the first time , they don't want to attempt to send a multi million pound satellite into space hence why they are testing it out with a second hand car (even if it is an expensive Telsa)

JeNeSuisPasVotreMiel Tue 06-Feb-18 22:12:44

That'll be great when they have double decker buses in space. I'll be fighting for the front window seat as usual, so I can pretend that I'm driving (to a galaxy far far away).

tobee Tue 06-Feb-18 22:39:32

Because he's a massive nob.

tobee Tue 06-Feb-18 22:39:42

Because he's a massive nob.

tobee Tue 06-Feb-18 22:40:05

Damm. I knew that would post twice

PerfectlyDone Tue 06-Feb-18 22:40:50

It bears saying twice, tobee grin

PaperdollCartoon Tue 06-Feb-18 22:43:06

I think its seriously unethical to spend so much on something as wasteful and stupid as missions to Mars when there’s poverty and suffering all over the world. Musk talks about caring for the planet but he clearly doesn’t give a toss about actually helping people

prh47bridge Tue 06-Feb-18 23:01:31

I think its seriously unethical to spend so much on something as wasteful and stupid as missions to Mars when there’s poverty and suffering all over the world. Musk talks about caring for the planet but he clearly doesn’t give a toss about actually helping people

What rubbish. For a start he has pledged to give the majority of his wealth away as has already been pointed out on this thread. And technological progress is a good thing. It is not wasteful and stupid. It is part of the reason we are currently living in the golden age of poverty reduction.

Vitalogy Tue 06-Feb-18 23:01:50

Wonder how much it cost to stick his nob car on the end of it.

Lockheart Wed 07-Feb-18 00:16:47

This is a major step towards much cheaper spaceflight, carrying a much heavier payload than previously possible. This is a major scientific breakthrough for humanity.

The car was to help test the payload. Usually they'd use a block of concrete or possibly a water tank. But why not use a car if you want to?

If you want to know what sort of advances this kind of thing can lead to:

- Larger, more powerful telescopes being sent into space. Consider what we have learnt from the Hubble. Now consider what we could learn if we could get a telescope many times more powerful up there.

- Bigger, more powerful earth-orbiting satellites, allowing the easy spread of super high-speed internet via data to the entire globe, including poorer countries.

- Said satellites can also monitor our planet and help us to understand more about the current catastrophic effects we're having on the planet and collect data to help us fix these.

- The satellites can also help scan for potentially dangerous asteroids etc currently heading our way. NASA already has some of these for example, but if we can get bigger, more advanced satellites up there, we will have an even earlier warning system.

- Speaking of warning systems, we can use bigger, more powerful, faster satellites for military intelligence, allowing us to monitor potential threats more closely (see Japans missile warnings after N Korea's recent launches).

- Inter-city rocket travel.

- The inspirational and educational factors - hard to measure but undoubtedly present . For example, we don't shut down museums because they're a waste of money and we could have spent that £100k on starving children in Africa instead of a new dinosaur. Children seeing a rocket launch like this will help encourage many to study the sciences and engineering, which will in turn benefit future generations.

- Possibly delving into the realms of science fiction now (although the two booster rockets landing this evening is something I only ever thought I'd see in science fiction movies, so who knows!) but being able to bring space travel to the masses and the mainstream has huge potential advantages for our future survival as a species. It brings possible colonisation of other bodies (such as Mars and the Moon) one step closer, although those are still very far away.

It's also worth noting that $90m (the cost of the Falcon Heavy) is lightyears cheaper than anything NASA has done (usually $500m plus). And if you'd like to see what advances and new technology NASA has brought to humanity, see here for some examples: spinoff.nasa.gov/Spinoff2008/pdf/spinoff2008.pdf (it includes healing and rehabilitation technologies, improved batteries, and of course huge leaps in computer technology).

With SpaceX's new rockets, we will continue as a species to reap these benefits, but now it's much cheaper.

Or alternatively you could continue to refuse to look past the end of your nose, and ignore the momentous contributions space exploration has had towards our lives over the past 60 years, and keep framing it as "rich bastard spends obscene money playing with oversized toys".

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Wed 07-Feb-18 00:32:51

^This x 2000.

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Wed 07-Feb-18 00:39:31

But also, there will be many more starving children, and adults, if we don’t do something to address the problem of limited resources on Earth. They are limited. Moon, Mars, asteroid mining is the (long term) future.

There are a lot of very rich people on this planet. Why don’t you direct your anger at the ones posing with dead endangered species, buying up great art just to keep in a vault at home, buying up all the property and forcing people out of their homes etc, rather than attacking someone who is actually really helping. Or you could even get upset at arseholes who aren’t actually rich? There are plenty of those!

noblegiraffe Wed 07-Feb-18 00:53:00

From what I understand, Elon Musk has two long term goals - to save the environment and thus the planet, and to give us an escape option.

So with Tesla he is trying to switch to electric cars and reduce reliance on fossil fuels - he's doing loads of stuff with solar panels too.
And with SpaceX his goal is to colonise Mars/get us off the planet.

He has master plans that he publishes so that you can see where he's going with this stuff. With Tesla he had to start with high performance, high cost electric cars in order to raise revenue to finance the production of cheaper electric cars.

DonnyAndVladSittingInATree Wed 07-Feb-18 00:58:23

There’s a long list of people you could start with before you even come close to musk wrt “wasting” money when there are starving children.

safariboot Wed 07-Feb-18 01:12:55

Spaceflight has brought many benefits to humanity. Including benefits that help feed the starving children in the world, like weather forecasting so farmers can be prepared, and GPS so transporting goods is quicker and cheaper. Cheaper launches will increase the benefits and open new opportunities, Falcon Heavy is by far the most capable and best value rocket flying, and like anything it needs testing first. This was that first test flight.

cdtaylornats Wed 07-Feb-18 11:18:28

Perhaps the OP could sell all of their technology and donate the money

juneau Wed 07-Feb-18 11:40:28

Well yes, this is a huge publicity stunt for Elon Musk, SpaceX and Tesla, and I get why he's being criticised for being an arrogant publicity hound. But, as already stated, this was a test mission, requiring a heavy payload and so, since he was funding it, I think he thought 'Why not publicise my brands at the same time?'. Why not indeed. Yes, it makes him look like a bit of a wanker, but what an amazing achievement! A road car floating through space with an astronaut at the wheel (or a space suit, at least). And the whole thing was a resounding success (although it could've equally been a total failure - we've all seen rockets exploding on the launch pad), so good for him for advancing science and technology. Children are starving, yes, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be innovating for the future. If we only ever focused on the here and now no amazing advances would ever have been made. And there is enough money in the world to do both.

Disclaimer: I am a space nerd ... in case that needed to be stated.

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