The newest development in space travel
On 6th February, Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla, launched the Falcon Heavy rocket into space. Designed with the hope of carrying passengers to Mars, it is the most powerful operating rocket in the world, capable of carrying 64 tonnes.
The success of its launch could mean big things for the future of space exploration and travel. The Falcon Heavy is extremely powerful and so the idea of going to far off planets has become far more realistic. With the huge capacity of the rocket, SpaceX will be able to send more robots into space, with Mars being a priority to explore, and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn also high on the agenda. The eventual plan is to be able to have people visit Mars, and the Falcon Heavy gives this plan a huge amount of hope.
Whilst the launch of Elon Musks’ rocket is very important in the development of space travel, the peculiar fashion in which it was sent off cannot be overlooked. Obviously, as this was the first time the rocket had been launched, there were no passengers aboard. However, Musk did not send an empty rocket into space. He sent his cherry red original Tesla Roadster into space, along with a mannequin in a space suit and David Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars?’ playing on repeat. While some argue it was an unnecessary publicity stunt, it cannot be denied that it certainly did bring people’s attention to a record breaking event and made it rather memorable.
The launch of the Falcon Heavy marks the first times a production car has been sent into space and whilst it was an exciting spectacle, it is certainly not the weirdest thing to have been sent into space. NASA have sent Lego figures into space, as well as Luke Skywalker’s Lightsaber, a Buzz Lightyear toy, a pie and chips, a variety of animals including dogs and monkeys, a football, dinosaur fossils, a sandwich, and a variety of song recordings.
So what is next for SpaceX? An exciting, yet daunting prospect, Musk has promised to be transporting humans to Mars by 2024. There are plans for tourist visits to the moon, and aims to build an even bigger and more powerful rocket. However, a flight on the world’s most powerful rocket won’t come cheap, to afford a flight you would need a staggering $500 million.