Still Not Getting Old

About ten hours ago (at the time of this writing) SpaceX launched a “secret, classified mission” on behalf of the Gummint. Whatever.

The exciting part is that the main booster landed back at Canaveral instead of off-shore on one of the barges SpaceX has.

The good stuff starts at 14:22 and wraps up at 21:06. Eventually this stuff will become routine, and therefore a bit boring, but not yet!

At this point, I’d type something like “F*** NA$A” and wrap this up, but today, there’s more:

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/04/trump-space-mars/524700/

Note that this is published by an enemy media outlet, so you’ll be reading all sorts of partisan sniping if you choose to click the link.

Such a sense of urgency was on full display during Trump’s call with the International Space Station this week.

“What do you see a timing for actually sending humans to Mars? Is there a schedule? And when would you see that happening?” Trump asked Peggy Whitson, the commander of the station.

“Well, I think as your bill directed, it will be approximately in the 2030s,” Whitson replied.

“Well, we want to try and do it during my first term or, at worst, during my second term,” Trump said. “So we’ll have to speed that up a little bit, okay?”

Whitson laughed. “We’ll do our best,” she said.

“I think we’ll do it a lot sooner than we’re even thinking,” Trump said later in the call.

It wasn’t clear whether the president was serious about sending humans to Mars in the next four years, or making a joke that jibes with a campaign promise of rapid change. Either way, it would be impossible. The United States doesn’t have any crew launch capabilities of its own, and pays Russia millions of dollars to send its astronauts to space. And then there’s the science. Several stories appeared explaining what kind of engineering feats it would take to transport a crew to Mars that fast, with Sarah Fecht at Popular Science with perhaps the best response: a time machine. Asked to clarify the statement, a White House spokesman offered only that “the president has already taken steps to refocus NASA on its core mission of exploration.”

So much, thankfully, for “Muslim outreach”. Don’t get me wrong: NA$A is still a bloated agency which needs some ruthless trimming. And forcing it to adopt SpaceX’s reusable boosters would be a direct benefit to us taxpayers, who, after all, are paying for all this. But I have to wonder just how effective “steps to refocus NA$A on its core mission of exploration” is going to be so long as NA$A remains a work program for PhD’s who didn’t join the private sector.

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