Composite Materials, Mars, and Elon Musk

Composite Materials, Mars, and Elon Musk's Dream

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https://www.rockwestcomposites.com/materials-tools - It is no secret to anyone who follows tech industry news that SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has his eyes set on Mars. He and the many companies he is involved with have marshaled their resources to undertake a project they hope will have people living and working on the red planet within 100 years. Their goal is to create a sustainable colony on Mars that could save humanity in the event of a catastrophic global disaster.

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Published 08 December 2017
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Composite Materials, Mars, and Elon Musk's Dream It is no secret to anyone who follows tech industry news thatSpaceXandTeslaCEO Elon Musk has his eyes set on Mars. He and the many companies he is involved with have marshaled their resources to undertake a project they hope will have people living and working on the red planet within 100 years. Their goal is to create asustainable colony on Marsthat could save humanity in the event of a catastrophic global disaster.
Why is Elon Musk's Mars dream fodder for a Rock West Composites blog post? Becausecomposite materialsare a big part of that dream. In order for Musk to get people to Mars safely and at a reasonable cost, he needs interplanetary spaceships that can maximize cargo and passenger space without being prohibitively heavy under Earth's gravity. Enter composite materials.
A Lot of Homework to Do
Colonizing Mars at some point in the future has been a dream of humankind for longer than most of us have been alive. Yet until the introduction of the space shuttle, those dreams of colonization have been just that. One of the most important benefits of the now defunct space shuttle program is that it gave us a legitimate basis for theorizing that Mars colonization is possible. And now that we have actually landed small spacecraft on the red planet, we know it can be done.
The goal now is to scale up what we've already done. To that end, scientists and engineers still have a lot of homework to do. There is a lot more to colonizing Mars than building a few carbon fiber rockets and sending them into space.
First of all, the current cost of transporting someone from Earth to Mars is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $10 billion. Musk hopes to bring the cost down to $200,000 per person within a century. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.
In order to make his plan work, we would need to establish both fuel production and composite materials manufacturing on Mars. We would have to have the ability to fabricate all sorts of composite supplies and parts on Mars so that maintenance could be done on ships before they head back to Earth. We would need fuel production so that ships would not have to carry a round-trip fuel payload.
You Have to Get It There The other problem currently facing Mars dreamers is the fact that you have to transfer all the supplies you need for composite materials and fuel production from Earth to Mars. Before we can even think about transporting humans, we have to get all the raw materials there so that production can begin in earnest. That leads us to the question of production delays.
As a high-tech company ourselves, we are fully aware of how fragile the supply chain is. Even a minor production delay can disrupt things down the line. What would happen if we sent a spaceship off to Mars with just enough fuel to get there, only to discover three quarters of the way into the trip that fuel facilities on Mars were destroyed?
We know raw composite materials can be used to fabricate panels of all shapes and sizes. That's why SpaceX wants to use them to create future Mars spacecraft. But colonizing Mars is a lot more complicated than building a carbon fiber ship. Past successes have shown us that achieving the dream of living on Mars is possible, in theory, yet whether we ever pull it off remains to be seen.