Elon Musk outlined his technical roadmap for getting to Mars in a remarkable hour and a half long presentation at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico on Tuesday. Most of what’s been written about it has focused on two themes: the need for a back-up planet in case something catastrophic happens on Earth and the $200,000 ticket price for a ride to Mars. The latter isn’t exactly accurate, and the former is not Musk’s reason for doing it.… More
A flood of cash was ploughed into building telecommunications systems in the 1990s, with generally bad results for the original investors. Some companies went through bankruptcy, but more or less came out the other side still functioning. Others collapsed completely, with the assets selling at fire sale prices.
The most glorious of those failures had to have been Iridium. Backed by Motorola, it launched a low earth orbit constellation of 66 satellites that were designed to communicate with brick-sized phones from any point on or over the planet.… More
It’s hard to bet against Elon Musk. He made a fortune as a founder of PayPal, but instead of fading into a life of one-hit wonder obscurity sitting on boards and listening to investment pitches, he doubled down by going weird: electric cars and rocket ships, old ideas with a long trail of broken genius. Each venture had “billionaire vanity project” written all over it. Now, both look likely to revolutionise transportation. We can only hope his Hyperloop daydreaming follows the same path.… More
What fun would moon golf be without a friendly wager?
There’s more than a whiff of publicity stunt about it, but even so, the launch by PayPal and the SETI Institute of a project to create a payment system that can be used in outer space is a fascinating idea. The initial problem they want to address is creating a medium of exchange for the space tourism industry.