How crazy SpaceX’s first missions to Mars will be? Elon Musk just reveals.

How crazy SpaceX’s first missions to Mars will be? Elon Musk just reveals.


Elon Musk, the founder of the rocket company
SpaceX, has “aspirational” plans to launch people to Mars in 2024 and ultimately colonize
the red planet. To make the roughly six-month one-way journey,
Musk and his engineers have dreamed up a 347-foot-tall launch system called the Big Falcon Rocket,
or BFR. The spacecraft is designed to have two fully
reusable stages: a 19-story booster and a 16-story spaceship, which would fly on top
of the booster into space. SpaceX employees are now building a prototype
of the Big Falcon Spaceship at the Port of Los Angeles. Gwynne Shotwell, the company’s president and
COO, reportedly said that the spaceship may start small test-launches in late 2019. Several official graphics of the spaceship’s
internal structure exist, but none show exactly how the ship would be equipped for Mars. So spaceflight-loving artist Nick Oberg created
his own illustration of how the vehicle might look and function on the inside. In this video, Engineering Today will discuss
about the key parts of Oberg’s full drawing and additional explanations. What are all key parts? How does it work? Airlock: “Ship exterior inspection and repair
must be carried out by space-walks. The airlock is used to allow astronauts to
step out of the ship while maintaining pressurization elsewhere.” It would be a vital need to leave the ship
and make repairs to a micrometeorite hit to a fuel tank. Cargo bay: “All large cargo for Mars is stored
here. ISRU equipment, rovers, suits, solar panels,
all the gear needed to start a new life far away.” Crane: “Once on the Martian surface, cargo
must be carefully hoisted down from the bay to the ground. A heavy duty swiveling crane feeds out pallets
via the cargo bay doors.” Life support system/service bay: “The ship’s
most important systems are the life support equipment. The temperature is regulated, the water filtered
and recycled from waste, the air made breathable once again.” Hydroponics farm: “Far away from Earth, the
lack of fresh food becomes demoralizing. The hydroponics farm is more to keep spirits
up than it is to provide a sustainable food source.” Astronauts have sometimes described fresh
fruits and vegetables as “manna from heaven.” Sleeping quarters: “Each crew member has a
personal space equipped with bed, illumination, a portal window to the outside, electricity,
and connection to the ship net. Removable partitions allow for crew to bunk
together and expand their private space if desired.” Think how the rooms could function both while
a crew is flying through space and living on Mars. A SpaceX engineer said that the first crews
would likely use the spaceship as their habitat. Showers: “Water is pulled through the shower
room by powerful fans. Waste heat from the life support system goes
into providing hot water. Capacity for up to four crew.” “Astronauts on the space station just scrub
themselves with a wet towel. Now imagine you have to scrub for six to eight
months. “You’re going to want a normal shower. But in zero-gravity that’s going to be difficult.” Toilets: “The subject of endless jokes and
questions, the space toilet applies suction where and when it is needed. Waste is reprocessed in the life support system
and is used for irrigation in the hydroponics lab.” Oberg said the zero-gravity toilet he drew
borrows from the one on the International Space Station. Added hand grips so people can hold themselves
down. It never looks fun, especially the way the
astronauts describe it. Communal area: “One large open volume dominates
the interior ship layout. The area allows for communal activities such
as eating, sports and play, musical performances, and movie nights. Exercise and kitchen equipment can be found
in this area — and perhaps most importantly, the coffee machine.” The communal area will be fun — an essential
place to keep physically and mentally healthy during the voyage to Mars. People will absolutely need to exercise. They’ll spend a good fraction of their time
working out and keeping fit because they’ll have to, referring to the bone and muscle
loss that happens in zero-gravity. The bridge: “All critical ship functions are
handled on the bridge. Control terminals allow for manual takeover
of navigation and ship systems. Communications with Earth are sent from and
received here.” We doubt the bridge will be very big, since
SpaceX is automating so much of its current spacecraft. “But it’s a staple of science fiction that
in every spaceship there is a bridge. “Maybe it will be more of a utility room than
a bridge — all the stuff needed to keep a close eye on things like life support.” Storage: “Larger personal effects and items
which may need to be retrieved frequently can be found in the forward storage compartment. Everything else goes in the cargo bay.” The storage area, including a torus of water
next to it, could be used to shelter astronauts during a solar storm, which spews high-energy
protons that can harm people. Radiation from deep space will be difficult
to defend against during the trip to Mars and on the planet’s surface. We can’t imagine how people are going to be
protected from cosmic rays. No idea how SpaceX is going to do this,” we
don’t see how they can’t prevent people’s brains from being damaged.” The green bar drawn in the storage area, is
an homage to a “Simpsons” episode in which Homer Simpson saves a space mission with a
radioactive fuel rod. Telecommunications array: “This steerable
parabolic dish allows for nearly continuous communication with Earth. A low-gain secondary antenna allows for communication
in an emergency.” Guidance navigation and control: “Reaction
control thrusters orient the ship for docking procedures, engine burns, and atmospheric
re-entry. Navigation computers, radio timing, and star-trackers
keep the ship positioned and oriented in space.” Propellant tanks: “Together, liquid Methane
and liquid Oxygen are the fuel that powers the Raptor engines. Smaller tanks hold the propellant for landing.” lingering droplets of propellant to the large,
30-foot-diameter tanks to indicate that they’d used up more or less all the fuel. Engines: “The ship is propelled by seven engines;
four vacuum Raptors to operate in space and boost the ship between orbits, and three smaller
Raptors for landing back on solid surfaces.” The Raptor engines for the Big Falcon Spaceship
are one of the most “real” parts of the spacecraft so far, since engineers have already built
and fired smaller-scale versions. Delta wing: “The small delta wings include
a split flap for pitch and roll control in a variety of atmospheric conditions. This allows the ship to safely maneuver itself
with a range of different payload masses in the nose.” Landing legs: “Four deployable legs at the
base of the vehicle allow for a vertical landing.” Crew cabin windows: “Every crew compartment
is fitted with a single porthole for exterior viewing.” Main windows: “Two long stripes of shutterable
window panels allow natural sunlight to enter the communal area to establish a natural day-night
cycle for the crew.” Heat shield: “The underbelly of the ship is
coated in heat resistant plates. These sections need to withstand the conditions
of atmospheric re-entry from interplanetary velocities and be reusable. For re-entry at high velocities, the shield
is expected to partially ablate.” We’ve been waiting for what feels like most
of our life, for people to go beyond the moon, and it looks like it’s finally going to happen. “Every decade there’s a new plan of, ‘within
a decade well send people to Mars’ or the moon or an asteroid — and then it fizzles
out. Nothing came close to reality. We never saw parts of a manned Mars mission,
never saw components of a spacecraft. But SpaceX has shown us. We get peeks every now and then of what they’re
working on in a tent.