Welcome back, Mars fans! Last week’s space news was dominated by two big stories, which quickly got misrepresented by parts of the press, who either didn’t dig deep enough into the story or were just looking for an attention grabbing headline. Elon Musk hit the stage at SXSW
and in his typical, off the cuff style said a lot of things about our need to expand to Mars and how SpaceX is working to get us here. He said their next rocket design, the BFR will make ‘short … up and down flights’ probably sometime in 2019, which then got turned into headlines that SpaceX was sending rockets to Mars next year. Not quite! Elon was referring to test flights on Earth for 2019.
Then Russian president Putin boasted that they would send a mission to Mars in 2019
and that morphed into them sending Russians to the Red Planet (heh) that year. Sure, they’re a key part of the European Space Agency’s 2020 ExoMars mission, but 2019 isn’t even an optimal launch window to send a rocket there, and Russia’s last four attempts to get to Mars in the last 20 years have all failed. Space is hard. Words are easy.
Even Donald Trump joined in, claiming the US would go to Mars ’very soon
’. Well, technically that’s true, since NASA’s Mars InSight lander launches May 5th this year, but if he’s talking about anything else beyond the 2020 Mars Rover, Congress needs to back those bold claims up with funding
and we also need to fill those vacant senior NASA administration slots. Even optimistically speaking, we’re nowhere near putting boots on the ground during Donald’s Trump presidency.
At least all these bold claims and plans are starting to fuel a new space race. Meanwhile, among all the bluster, China is quietly working away
at their own 2020 Mars mission.
If you can’t wait that long, you can build your very own Mars colony today, in Paradox Interactive’s Mars colony sim game Surviving Mars
, out this week on consoles and PC/Mac.
PPS: Big thanks to Martijn for featuring
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if you’re looking for a way to run a content curation newsletter of your own.