Recently, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said, For employees of Starbase facilities Speaking in Boca Chica, Texas, he shared his thoughts on the future of the Starship launch vehicle, which holds hopes of returning to the moon and advancing to Mars.

Mr. Musk started by getting philosophical. He suggested that alien civilizations are rare in the universe. If humans were to venture beyond the stars, we might discover remnants of past civilizations that rose and fell, unable to spread beyond a single planet.

Musk proposes that our civilization should not meet that fate, which is why we should expand “human consciousness” to Mars, then to the asteroid belt, to the moons of the outer planets, and eventually to the stars. I'm thinking of doing it. He wants to make the Star Trek world a reality, he said. The late Gene Roddenberry must be smiling no matter where he is.

SpaceX, the device Mr. Musk built to save humanity, has become a profitable company, a cosmic ray built around the Falcon rocket, and a telecommunications company comprised of Starlink satellites. The Starship test campaign is the next step in Musk's vision.

The primary goal of the 4th test flight, scheduled for early May pending FAA approval, is to “soft-land” the super-heavy first stage vertically in the Gulf of Mexico, so that when the rocket touches land, It's about simulating what happens.

If the ocean landing is successful, Musk plans to land the Super Heavy at a space base facility during Test Flight 5. SpaceX plans to capture the Super Heavy in mid-air with a “mechazilla” arm and slowly lower it onto the launch pad. . Proving the ability to recover Super Heavy is critical to making the launch vehicle reusable.

Musk plans to land Starship twice at sea and then retrieve it once on land. He said he has no interest in creating explosions or fields of debris, as happened with Starship's first test flight.

SpaceX also plans to build four launch towers with Mechazilla arms, two at Starbase and two at Kennedy Space Center, to support the increased pace of Starship's launches and landings.

Starship itself will be taller, capable of lifting 200 metric tons into low-Earth orbit, then refueling and flying to the Moon or Mars.

The Human Landing System version of Starship will return to low Earth orbit after completing the Artemis mission to the moon. It can be refueled and used for future missions to the moon.

Regarding Mars, Musk envisions thousands of spacecraft carrying the 1 million people and millions of tons of supplies needed to survive on Mars. The colonial fleet will not return, but will be dismantled to collect materials on Mars. The first Mars colonists will make a life-or-death commitment to building a new homeland for humanity as envisioned by Musk. Musk believes he could send an unmanned spacecraft to Mars for the first time in five years.

What do you think about Musk and his ambitions? At Ars Technica, Eric Berger said, “Many people will dismiss Musk's comments about Mars as comments from a megalomaniac,” but “but… “That's not true, at least when it comes to spaceflight.”

“Mr. Musk's multiplanetary ambitions have more credibility today as SpaceX is taking steps to do what Mr. Musk said the company would do,” Berger continued. .

History has given megalomania a bad name. Too many people seem to have suffered from this disease, including Alexander the Great, Caesar, and Napoleon, not to mention the tyrants of the 20th century, who filled mass graves by the millions in their quest for world domination.

If Elon Musk is a megalomaniac, that's what drove him to pursue dreams far more beautiful than national conquest. Starship is the physical manifestation of the dream of saving human civilization by extending beyond Earth to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

The “great man theory of history” has always been controversial, and examples include Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King, and even world conquerors. But ironically, we should ask how much poorer and unhappy our world would be if Elon Musk hadn't tried to pull us out of it.

I can't wait to see what future Musk is trying to summon. Sound public policy would include supporting his space ambitions. If he succeeds, human civilization will change for the better.

Mark R. Whittington, who writes frequently about space policy, writes,Why is it difficult to return to the moon?” Similarly “To the moon, Mars and beyond”, and more recently”Why will America return to the moon?” He blogs at: Karma John's Corner.

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