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Elon Musk Mars and Logic

To Reach a Dead Planet: A Critical Perspective on Elon's Mars Endeavor


To Mars and Beyond

Whenever I come across articles about Elon Musk's ambitious goal of reaching Mars, the logical and intelligent part of me tends to scoff at the idea.

To me, the notion of going to Mars appears rather futile, and the more it is discussed, it seems more like an egotistical pursuit devoid of practicality, and a complete waste of time.

Occupying Mars is as pointless as revisiting the moon or venturing to Pluto to find a habitat suitable for human life.

We have a fairly good understanding of what lies in store for us if we were to embark on such a mission. Mars is an inhospitable planet that cannot sustain human life and, honestly speaking, engaging in such an endeavor seems utterly difficult to justify. Wouldn't we be better off spending resources and energy on bigger, better ideas here on Earth?

Shouldn't We Go Planet Hunting for Hospitable Planets, Not a Dead One?

Certainly, we can test our ability to endure the extremely hazardous conditions of Mars, collect some rocks, look for fossilized bacteria, and investigate geological formations. We could look for the presence of water or find mineral resources.

Perhaps we may even drill down three hundred feet and discover pure H2O, erect a space outpost, and congratulate ourselves on a job well done. Woo-hoo!

We could launch a rocket carrying one of Elon's Teslas into Mars orbit for entertainment purposes—oh wait, that has already been accomplished. No wasted effort there for mankind or anything.

Indeed, we could focus our efforts on our own planet and explore ways to combat global warming beyond the mere purchase of electric vehicles, which exacerbates environmental damage by relying on nonrenewable, mined resources. Not to mention the logistics, the use of lithium refineries, and then the recycling or disposal of lithium.

We could explore the much-needed restoration of invaluable rainforests or explore how to save our oceans, stop nitrogen runoff, solve the red tide issue, or remove millions of tons of plastic from our oceans.

In my mind, there is plenty enough to do here at home on Earth for the betterment of man, and better ideas to fund that contribute more to our species. More so than reaching a dead planet.

In essence, it appears to me to be an extravagant waste of money, time, and resources to reach a lifeless planet that cannot sustain human life. Occupying Mars is like occupying Antarctica, yeah, we can do it, but nobody is wasting the time and energy to live there. (Well, there are some oddballs wanting to live a life of extreme uninhabitable conditions)

The return on investment would likely be minimal, yielding little more than data and a slightly improved understanding of a planet that holds no significance for the future of our species.

Billions, and possibly trillions, will be spent to reach Mars with expendable humans one day willing to risk their lives to proclaim, "We finally did it." Only to later question why we attempted it in the first place because other than a handful of names being put into history books, what is the point?

The question that arises is simple enough, as I mentioned: Wouldn't those billions, or even trillions, be better spent here on Earth or in the quest for a planet that could potentially support life?

Although most scientists agree that even the closest potentially habitable planet is much farther away than Mars, still, wouldn't that journey hold more value for our civilization than landing on the barren red planet? Perhaps it could if we were being practical about Mars, instead of wasting time to entertain one man's idea of a great accomplishment? (Comment meant for the Tesla in orbit)

After all, those who are willing to risk their lives to reach Mars might be equally willing to risk their lives to land on a planet where we could one day reside without the need for domes to save us from extreme conditions.

Scientists have previously identified Proxima b as the closest planet that shows promise for supporting human life. It orbits Proxima Centauri, the star nearest to our solar system. Located approximately 4.24 light-years away from Earth, Proxima b is situated at an astounding distance of about 25 trillion miles (40 trillion kilometers). While ongoing research and speculation are and would be necessary to determine whether Proxima b possesses the necessary conditions to sustain human life, the funding for such tasks, to me, seems more worthwhile.

Further study and possible future unmanned exploration could provide us with a clearer understanding of this potentially habitable planet. Thus, why spend Billions to reach the dead planet of Mars? Seems less logical to me to waste time on eventually leaving behind our wasted energy and equipment on the surface of Mars, only to regroup to discuss how stupid it was for us to waste the time and resources in the first place. Things to be discussed would be like, why we didn't fund better ideas before going to Mars? What was the goal here? Build a habitat on an inhabitable planet, perhaps fighting gravity along the way, you know, because of that whole mass thing and gravity.

I mean, eventually, this is where we will be heading: somewhere else.

Mars will likely become merely an accomplishment, losing its significance as a groundbreaking endeavor and instead becoming a mere ego trip for humanity. The hype surrounding Mars resembles the fervor surrounding DOGE coin, at least in my opinion. It's great, until you use it. It's faster, but still doesn't make practical sense. Besides, I'm a DigiByte guy.

Let's not confuse things; landing on Mars would indeed be an astounding achievement, but it would lack practicality.

We might discover that our vulnerability necessitates increased protection for Mars missions, which could help us advance further into space. However, I have some questions and genuine concerns.

During a recent interview with Joe Rogan, Elon asserted that burning fuel for rocket propulsion is the only way to navigate in space. However, I distinctly remember when I was in my early 30s that scientists were discussing even more innovative ideas.

Here are just a few ideas about space propulsion that Elon failed to address:

Some notable alternatives include:

  • Ion Propulsion: Ion propulsion systems work by accelerating charged particles (ions) using electric fields. This technology, such as the Hall effect thrusters, provides low thrust but highly efficient propulsion over long durations.
  • Solar Sails: Solar sails utilize the pressure of sunlight to propel a spacecraft. By deploying large, lightweight reflective sails, photons from the Sun transfer momentum to the sail, generating a continuous thrust.
  • Nuclear Propulsion: Nuclear propulsion involves harnessing the energy released from nuclear reactions to generate thrust. Concepts like nuclear thermal propulsion (NTP) and nuclear electric propulsion (NEP) have been explored, where nuclear energy is used to heat propellant or power electric thrusters, respectively.
  • Plasma Propulsion: Plasma engines, such as the Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket (VASIMR), utilize electric fields to ionize gas into plasma and then accelerate and expel it to create thrust.
  • Laser Propulsion: Laser propulsion involves using powerful laser beams to heat and vaporize a propellant, generating high-speed exhaust for propulsion. It is a concept currently being researched for potential applications.
  • Antimatter Propulsion: Antimatter propulsion involves the controlled annihilation of matter and antimatter to release large amounts of energy. The resulting energy can be harnessed for thrust, but the technology is highly theoretical and faces significant engineering challenges.

These are just a few examples of alternative propulsion technologies that scientists have considered and continue to explore in the quest for more efficient and advanced space travel.

Personally, laser travel seems seriously possible, but I've always been a fan of plasma propulsion, ever since I saw that one guy launch a pie pan in his backyard using plasma crystals and a laser, or something. I don't know; it's been years, but I'm sure they've advanced the technology by now. 😁 However, Elon dismissed these ideas as if they didn't exist, which is rather surprising considering his reputation as a genius, and I mean no disrespect towards Elon, but one would assume he would be aware of these innovative concepts. Yeah?

Moreover, Elon also made some puzzling statements I found didn't quite add up for someone wishing to take over Mars, so to speak.

He claimed that massive habitats like those depicted in the movie Interstellar would be impossible due to the issue of mass. While it is true that transporting mass into space presents challenges, once the mass is in space, the effects of no gravity and other factors come into play. Wouldn't then the transportation to the surface of Mars become more problematic than building a space habitat?

There's even some deep discussions going into gravity-free manufacturing, so this statement seemed peculiar, much like his DOGE issues as of late.

Peculiar.

It also pings my intellect when he dismissed Hydrogen fuel as a better alternative to Lithium, and don't even get me started on Twitter. I mean, I wouldn't want the testament of my life to be a blundering mistake. Granted, I've made quite a few shitty mistakes in my life, but mistakenly buying Twitter? Quite touché, no?

Don't get me wrong; I appreciate Elon and his contributions. However, I held him in even higher regard when he appeared more intellectually engaged at hearing about new ideas besides ones that reflect his interests. At this point though, his intelligence seems irrelevant to the question at hand.

Why Mars?

Indeed it's closer, and missions to Mars would help us in furthering our reach into space, but living there? Not exactly worth our troubles. Sure, maybe we can terraform Mars to be capable of supporting life, but do we have another estimated one to ten thousand years plus to do that?

If we focused on finding planets worth our time and resources to reach and spent more funding for alternative propulsion systems, perhaps Mars would be a great test for us to attempt, but looking at who is wanting this and his focus being as what I see as blinded, (no disrespect Elon). Mars is not going to be a testament to humankind's abilities, as much as one man's seemingly irrational goal with humanity wasting its time to accomplish it.

And time is of the essence.

Forgive my trespasses, for I am only a man with a brain and a spinal cord. I know nothing about the intrepidity of geniuses. I just happen to dream bigger than my fortunes allow.

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Jeffrey Allen Kaufman
Jeffrey Allen Kaufman

Jeffrey Allen Kaufman: Writer, Chef, Outdoorsman, Creative Copy, Script and branding expert. Passionate about startups, sailing ⛵, and delivering impactful content. Contact: [email protected]

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