SLS vs SpaceX Starship: NASA Retreating From 2024 Target & $2b Moon Prize For Elon?
It's time to talk again about our favorite space competition, SLS vs SpaceX ! It looks more and more likely that SpaceX is winning, even more now, since now a 2 billion USD prize for the first private company to land people on the moon, is being considered. And we also talk about a new brilliant plan from Robert Zubrin called Mars Direct 2.0, and then also about Venus, our other favorite planet.
In the never ending race SLS vs SpaceX Super heavy and starship, the victor is getting more and more clear. First of all, in a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives' Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing on Sept. 18th, serious doubts were raised on the achievability of the 2024 date for landing american astronauts back on the moon with NASA's Artemis program. Ken Bowersox, NASA's acting associate administrator for human exploration and operations was actually quite blunt in saying that the 2024 target is unrealistic.
So the race SLS vs starship is no race at all, because apparently NASA has lost before it is starting.
On the other hand, Newt Gingrich recently proposed a 2 billion USD prize for the first private space company that would first land astronauts on the moon. Elon was quick to respond on Twitter, stating that "this is a great idea". We certainly think the probability is very high that Starship will be the vehicle to land on the moon in 2024, and not a NASA lander from Boeing, Lockheed, or Northrop Grumman. And neither Blue Origin does have the capability to land their Blue Moon lander by 2024, as we explain.
So the only one really capable of landing on the moon in 2024 is SpaceX, with Elon certainly eyeing that possible 2 billion USD prize. This could force NASA to make a SpaceX NASA contract for ferrying NASA astronauts to the moon in starship, and abandon the SLS altogether, SpaceX Starship vs SLS debate once and for all.
Then we also briefly talk about new research from our other favorite planet in the solar system, Venus, which gets far too less recognition these days. A new paper shows that Venus could have supported Oceans and a moderate climate for billions of years, until only 700 million years ago, something went terribly wrong.
And then we finally want to analyze Robert Zubrin's fascinating new plan called Mars Direct 2.0, in which he proposes two new alternative plans, involing the use of a giant fleet of mini starships, which would only have 1/4 the size of a regular starship, being in constant rotation between earth and mars. He also talks about the NASA SLS vs SpaceX Falcon Heavy, detailing a mars semi direct plan, which would only involve the Falcon Heavy.
His rotation plan would involve SpaceX orbital refueling, of the mini starships, which would actually never land on earth, only on mars. However, we have to say that there are some issues with this plan, for example the SpaceX starship gravity problem, which the mini starships could not solve so easily as the bigger starships. Then they also have less volume, and being smaller, would have less space for additional insulation against cosmic rays. How SpaceX will colonize mars, will ultimately probably be decided by the reality of economics and which approach will be more profitable and safe in the long run.
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