Well, we were promised flying cars.

You may already be aware of this but I just saw it. That big SpaceX launch a couple of days ago? I heard it went well except that they didn’t get the center booster back. They did indeed launch a Tesla roadster into solar orbit.

They launched a car into deep space, and I knew that. What I didn’t know is that they put a space-suited mannequin in the car, and also some live-feed cameras…*

screen shot 2018-02-07 at 115302 am
And that’s really cool and amusing and all, but I had to stop and sort out why it also kind of made me mad. And the reason is this: They can do that kind of shit just for publicity stunts, but it’s going on 50 years after Apollo and they’re just now re-learning how to reliably get things into orbit. They should be finding excuses for starting economic wars with the space-based culture by now – but instead the powers that be have successfully prevented that culture from ever becoming, and even prevented substantive research on whether such a culture is even physiologically possible.

It makes me mad, that’s all.

But carry on, Starman. You’re likely to be last guy for a long time to visit the Belt.

*Be aware that that’s a link to a 4-hour+ Youtube video, in case you have bandwidth limit issues.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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13 Responses to Well, we were promised flying cars.

  1. Phil says:

    You didn’t hear?
    Elon Musk left his wallet in that car.
    I’ll bet he can’t wait for the credit card charges originating from A;pha Centauri.

  2. Kentucky says:

    ” . . . it’s going on 50 years after Apollo and they’re just now re-learning how to reliably get things into orbit.”

    Private enterprise vs bureaucratic governmental foot-dragging. Answer enough?

  3. Mark Matis says:

    If you really believe that Mr. Musk is “private enterprise”, Kentucky, I’ve got some land in south Florida that you might want to buy…

    P.T. Barnum reincarnated, but with less ethics. But then he DOES own the right people.

  4. Kentucky says:

    Thanks for your brilliant, incisive comment.

  5. UnReconstructed says:

    Sorry. No.

    They have know how to get things to orbit reliably for DECADES. What they didn’t know how to do is how to get to orbit with Chevys, not Ferraris. From the Atlas 5 to the awesome Saturn 5, to the Space shuttle, they have been Ferraris. Atlas FINALLY started using Chevy engines quite some time ago. but sadly they had to buy them from the Russians.

    Mr Musk has stated numerous times that one of his prime goals is to make mankind a spacefaring civilization. His Falcon series is a fantastic step towards just that. Same engine in first and second stage. Clean sheet engine. Nice docile RP-1 fuel/LOX. Yep, he has blown a few up, so has NASA, and everybody else who has ever tried to go to orbit. Space is HARD.

    Nobody would pay him to fly a payload on the maiden voyage of a totally untried rocket. Normal procedure is to fly iron blocks, or sometimes water as ballast.

    Mr Musk did this.
    F’in genius.
    This might get some kids of all ages interested in space again.

    Its EXCITING to see that roadster in Space with the starman. An incredible example of life imitating art (anybody recall the Heavy Metal film ?)

    Only NASA could make space boring. Two vehicles are NOW driving around on Mars, one is the size of a mini cooper. Does anybody hear about that ? Nope.

    Yes Mr Musk has taken Gubbmint $. So what ? He has given them considerable value for that money. I would take money from them, too, if it would help mankind go to Space.

    Anyway….sorry for the screed. that hit a nerve.


  6. jabrwok says:

    I’m glad we’re finally getting active in the Final Frontier again. Musk’s dependence on Federal funding isn’t thrilling, but I can think of worse things for my money to go to if it’s going to be taken from me anyway.

    I just wish he’d launched something more useful. There’s a design called an Orbital Ring, basically a suspension bridge in space, which could be made, initially, with long metal wires that circumscribe the planet. This launch couldn’t have put the whole thing up, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

  7. UnReconstructed says:

    Well, yeah. Unfortunately, things like the Orbital ring, space elevator, etc seem to rely on some form of UnObtanium for the cable. Even if the materials DID exist (and in sufficient quantities), Tethers are tricky to work with, there have been mixed results, with tethers only a couple of hundred feet long. They behave very oddly.

    Although I am certainly libertarian in philosophy, I am solidly dedicated to getting mankind into space as soon as possible.

    And seeing both of those boosters landing simultaneously….priceless.


  8. Jeffersonian says:

    “They can do that kind of shit just for publicity stunts, but it’s going on 50 years after Apollo and they’re just now re-learning how to reliably get things into orbit.”

    Two different “they”s. As others have observed, tax-funded government bureaucracy vs. private sector with paying customers. It’s past time the former got out of the way of the latter.

    Now we need more competitors.

  9. jabrwok says:

    My understanding of Orbital Rings was that they do NOT require any material breakthroughs. That one of the advantages. Likewise, a Lofstrom Loop wouldn’t require any exotic materials or technological breakthroughs, just money and will. Space elevators do require breakthroughs, of course, which is why I don’t support those.

    That said, I’m not an engineer, and my familiarity with these technologies derives primarily from Isaac Arthur’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMbI6sk-62E.

  10. jed says:

    > anybody recall the Heavy Metal film?

    Not in any specific way. But I do remember Venus Bound, by Unknown Hinson.

  11. EwB says:

    Two versions of the Heavy Metal film “car in space”
    Note, the original film was based on the Graphic Art Magazine Heavy Metal
    the original, from the film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWMPe3wF9jQ

    CGI remake: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8l121LGlWU

  12. Jerry N says:

    I gues it depends on what the meaning of the word “reliably” is. If you consider planning on entering an orbit around Mars, but overshooting and zooming towards the asteroid belt as reliable, then it’s all good. To be fair, it was way closer hitting the marks than any of Musk’s financial or production predictions.

    @UnRe – I think I’m right there with you. Although I’m certainly a young, thin teetotaler in philosophy, I am solidly dedicated to getting my fat, 60 year old a$$ down to the liquor store as I’m out of scotch.


  13. billf says:

    Elon Musk is a con man,nothing more. He’s big on theatrics,but the bottom line of everything he does costs me money. Electric vehicles are a money losing business,as is solar power and going to space. Maybe it’s more exciting than giving welfare to the homeless,but it’s no different on the balance sheet . Musk loves tech,but only with other people’s money.

To the stake with the heretic!