Landing on the moon in 1961 was the goal of the whole world. Now exactly 60 years later, it seems like the idea is being driven by the ideas and cash of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
The thing is, Musk isn’t just planning on sending humans to the Moon, while this is the first step toward pushing humans back into the stars, Musk plans to go a little further with plans to build a base on the Moon.
It is quite unbelievable to think that it has been 60 years since the Apollo program replaced the modern Artemis program. Come ride with us into outer space as we explore Elon Musk’s new plans to build a moon base.
For those of you who are not completely familiar with Elon Musk’s connection to space travel, it’s a pretty long relationship. Musk is the CEO, CTO, founder, and chief designer of SpaceX. Currently, the leading company when it comes to rocket technology.
For the past few years, SpaceX has been the main rocket technology supplier to NASA. Allows the company’s CEO to be a leading figure in the space race. Since the founding of SpaceX in 2002, the company has grown several billion dollars in revenue with several hundred of its customers.
As the largest contractor for the NASA company, he has been deeply involved in the United States government’s plans to return to the Moon by 2024. There have been hundreds of developments since SpaceX. And Elon Musk is more specifically associated with NASA, including his current role in the Artemis project.
The Artemis project is the spiritual successor to the Apollo program, one of the Trump administration’s last major decisions before the administration left. Artemis was built in 2019 to land humans on the moon by 2024.
However, with the help of Musk’s SpaceX, the goal has changed quite dramatically. Musk believes that humans will not only be able to reach the moon before 2024 but also establish a relatively permanent presence on the surface.
Musk’s original announcement of his intentions to establish a permanently occupied human base on the Moon went all the way back in March of 2019. As he explained, “we need to have a base on the Moon, like a permanently occupied manned base on the Moon, and then send people to Mars”.
While this is certainly quite a grand goal, it is certainly not impossible with the technology and money at Musk’s feet. Actually, a few months ago, Musk had mentioned that he is determined to reach the moon as soon as possible. Something that both he and the United States National Space Program had taken into account. Announced a year later.
NASA announced SpaceX’s selection of Musk for most rocket trips, as well as the launch of the government’s moon plans called Artemis Base Camp. NASA announced a long-term presence for further space exploration.
It is believed to be around Shackleton Crater near the Moon’s south pole, quite close to what the oysters have been up to some time. The camp is currently being designed to provide a long-lasting human presence, as previous voyages had already lasted 60 years.
Add to this the multi-billion dollar price tag for past expenditures and this is a fairly complex endeavor. There’s a reason NASA has relied so heavily on outside parties like Musk’s SpaceX.
Just for reference, an Artemis-based camp would require electrical infrastructure, waste disposal, communications, radiation shielding, landing pads, water stations, mobility systems, and more.
Elon Musk can potentially provide the vast majority of those needs. Thanks to Musk’s reach within Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company, and many others. Experts have claimed that this entire ordeal is probably too ambitious, though Kasturi is determined to prove them wrong.
In fact, SpaceX’s Starship Deep Space Transportation System was chosen as Artemis’s crewed moon lander. Musk does not plan to use the Starship exclusively for landing, although the ship’s unreliable construction allows the rocket to be used repeatedly, allowing landing and extraction to take place with only one rocket.
It’s still a work in progress, though something he joked about at a recent news conference. “Obviously we need to prefer not to have some work to make the crates, but we are making rapid progress,” said Elon Musk.
The craters mentioned are from SpaceX’s recent test flight program that resulted in some recent eruptions. Fortunately for the future of Artemis and Musk’s plans, the company is working hard at recreating and resolving its issues with the technology.
However, that’s enough about SpaceX and Musk’s rockets. Many of Musk’s plans for base camp are far less clear, but potentially even more important, take a moment back and you’ll remember our mention of Elon Musk’s ability to provide most of what Artemis Base Camp needs.
Jim Breidenstein, one of the key figures in NASA’s Artemis program, declared that the success of commercial crews on the Moon depends on innovation. More specifically Bridenstine referred to private company innovation.
Letting the private company innovate once again is a good sign for Musk. That means he’s more than likely to bring technology other than rockets to the table. Something he’s always been planning.
Whereas SpaceX is probably Musk’s most obvious addition to the Artemis program. It certainly isn’t his only potential add-on. Nowhere near the only possible version of them.
Musk can provide the rocket and lander for NASA trips to quickly recap via SpaceX. SpaceX could also provide its new technology in the form of high-quality spacesuits and long-lasting space-exclusive buildings.
While this is infinitely farther than many private companies that combine with NASA programs, not all muskets are expected to deliver. Let’s take a look at Elon Musk’s Starlink which can provide satellite communications for the entire Moon in addition to internet service.
Its current plans for Starlink include deploying more than 4,400 satellites by the time the 2024 deadline of the Artemis program is hit. The space-exclusive nature of the satellites means that Musk through Starlink can provide continuous access and service to astronauts both within Base Camp and back to Earth.
Just imagine the potential benefits that having a fast and continuous signal from a satellite would have for future missions. Elon Musk already knows the benefits of launching 1000 satellites with FCC approval.
Imagine how far this project could go with NASA’s ideas as well as funding. Of course, the story revolves around Elon Musk, that’s not all. Elon’s largest company Tesla could provide the single technology and electricity powered by crafts and equipment.
Everyone knows Tesla, although what might not be known is just how revolutionary the company’s technology could be in the future. Since Musk’s arrival at Tesla as CEO, he has made several changes to the company’s offerings, including the addition of a solar roof and power wall.
While the benefits of these may not seem immediately obvious, you know that Musk is undoubtedly going to be using Tesla’s technology on the Moon. The company’s solar roofs provide some amazing solar power for small homes and large homes alike.
Now imagine these being used on the Moon to super-boost, solar-powered energy stores using open space and a nearly absent atmosphere. It’s all in Tesla’s efficient Power Wall battery storage and you suddenly have power and storage infrastructure without the need for separate Moon-based infrastructure.
Speaking of infrastructure, The Boring Company is another business owned by Musk. It will be used to develop the Moon Base System. The Boring Company, one of Musk’s lesser-known companies, can accurately drill and produce large holes.
I know it sounds boring, at least until you realize the difficulty provided in attempting to drill on the Moon. Using boring technology, SpaceX astronauts can accurately and easily create the infrastructure to set up a moon base on the moon cheap and efficient boring, which was not so easy in the past.
Though it looks like Musk is planning to change that. With SpaceX’s Starship rocket Tesla power system and Boring Company mining capabilities, we’re starting to see a recipe for a perfectly planned moon base.
NASA announced Artemis Base Camp in 2019 itself, although it seems that Musk has been preparing for it for a long time. Musk explained some of the upcoming upgrades to SpaceX’s Starship just months after NASA announced the program.
With a few oddly specific adjustments, it looked like the company was refurbishing the rockets with some more lunar-based equipment. Take the auto-leveling legs with a wide stance that is designed to propel forward in word or to land on rocky and steep services.
As well as adding forward thrusters to stabilize the ship for high wind landing attempts, Musk also said the rockets could remain on the Moon as part of Base Alpha. After all, launches are quite expensive, well unless you have Elon Musk behind the scenes already outfitted with enough technology to launch a full Moonbase.
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