Home US Elon Musk gloats and promises to colonize Mars after SpaceX successfully launches the first US lunar landing mission since 1972, but warns “only if civilization lasts long enough.”

Elon Musk gloats and promises to colonize Mars after SpaceX successfully launches the first US lunar landing mission since 1972, but warns “only if civilization lasts long enough.”

by Jack
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NASA's Nova-C lunar lander, encapsulated within the fairing of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, part of the Intuitive Machines IM-1 mission, lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.

Tesla founder Elon Musk has once again vowed to “colonize Mars” following the first US lunar landing in more than half a century and the first by a privately owned spacecraft.

The company’s Nova-C lander, dubbed Odysseus, lifted off shortly after 1 a.m. EST atop a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket piloted by Musk’s SpaceX from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.

The achievement prompted Tesla’s X account to bring up a quote from Musk that was first referenced in the South African’s biography written by Walter Isaacson in 2023.

‘I’m going to colonize Mars. My mission in life is to make humanity a multiplanetary civilization,” the tweet said. Musk retweeted the message from his personal account with the accompanying words: “Only if civilization lasts long enough.”

The latter is a likely reference to Musk’s long-held belief that the world is underpopulated, and he said in 2023 that declining birth rates were “the biggest danger facing civilization yet.” Musk has had 11 children with three different women.

NASA’s Nova-C lunar lander, encapsulated within the fairing of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, part of the Intuitive Machines IM-1 mission, lifts off from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center.

This image from a video provided by SpaceX via NASA TV shows the Intuitive Machines lunar lander separating from the rocket's upper stage and heading toward the moon.

This image from a video provided by SpaceX via NASA TV shows the Intuitive Machines lunar lander separating from the rocket’s upper stage and heading toward the moon.

Musk was first cited for wanting to colonize Mars in Walter Isaacsson's 2023 biography.

Musk was first cited for wanting to colonize Mars in Walter Isaacsson’s 2023 biography.

In 2017, Musk said that the number of people on Earth is decreasing

In 2017, Musk said the number of people on Earth is “accelerating toward collapse, but few seem to notice or care.”

In 2017, Musk said the number of people on Earth is “accelerating toward collapse, but few seem to notice or care.”

Then, in 2021, he warned that civilization “is going to fall apart” if people don’t have more children.

And just last year Musk described himself as “always beating the baby drum,” warning that once the birth rate starts to fall “it accelerates.”

He has pointed to a drop in Japan’s population as evidence of his concerns, claiming the nation would “completely disappear” if the worrying trend continues. And Musk warned that Italy “will have no people” if its low birth rate continues.

Some countries are taking drastic measures to try to encourage their citizens to have more children.

Finland’s sparsely populated regions have given out $10,000, paid over 10 years, for each child a couple has.

According to Isaacson, Musk first made his comments about colonizing Mars while reading a “tattered manual for a Russian rocket engine” in a Las Vegas cabin at a PayPal event.

Former PayPal executive Mark Woolway asked Musk what he planned to do next.

‘I’m going to colonize Mars. My mission in life is to make humanity a multiplanetary civilization,” he stated.

“Dude, you’re crazy,” Woolway responded.

Meanwhile, on the moon this morning, a live online video from NASA-SpaceX showed the two-stage, 25-story rocket roaring off the launch pad and surging into the dark sky over Florida’s Atlantic coast, followed by a yellowish and burning exhaust column.

About 48 minutes after launch, the six-legged lander was shown releasing from the Falcon 9’s upper stage about 139 miles above Earth and zooming away on its journey to the moon.

“The separation of the IM-1 Odysseus lunar lander has been confirmed,” a mission controller was heard saying.

Moments later, mission operations in Houston received their first radio signals from Odysseus as the lander began an automated process of powering on its systems and orienting itself in space, according to webcast commentators.

Although considered an Intuitive Machines mission, the IM-1 flight carries six NASA instrument payloads designed to collect data about the lunar environment ahead of NASA’s planned return of astronauts to the moon later this year. decade.

Thursday’s launch came a month after another private company’s lunar lander, Astrobotic Technology, suffered a propulsion system leak on its way to the moon shortly after being launched into orbit on Jan. 8 by a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Vulcan rocket carrying out its launch. debut flight.

The failure of Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander, which also carried NASA payloads to the moon, marked the third time that a private company failed to achieve a “soft landing” on the lunar surface, following ill-fated efforts by companies from Israel and Japan. .

Those setbacks illustrated the risks NASA faces in relying more than in the past on the commercial sector to achieve its spaceflight goals.

Plans call for Odysseus to reach its destination after a week-long flight, landing on February 22 in the Malapert A crater, near the moon’s south pole.

If successful, the flight would represent the first controlled descent to the lunar surface by a U.S. spacecraft since the last manned Apollo lunar mission in 1972, and the first by a private company.

The feat would also mark the first trip to the lunar surface under NASA’s Artemis lunar program, as the United States races to return astronauts to Earth’s natural satellite before China lands its own manned spacecraft there.

IM-1 is the latest test of NASA’s strategy of paying for the use of spacecraft built and owned by private companies to reduce the cost of the Artemis missions, conceived as a precursor to human exploration of Mars.

By contrast, during the Apollo era, NASA purchased rockets and other technology from the private sector, but owned and operated them itself.

NASA announced last month that it was pushing back its target date for the first crewed Artemis moon landing from 2025 to late 2026, while China has said it was aiming for 2030.

Small landers like Nova-C are expected to get there first, carrying instruments to take a closer look at the lunar landscape, its resources and potential dangers. Odysseus will focus on space weather interactions with the lunar surface, radio astronomy, precision landing technologies and navigation.

Intuitive Machine’s IM-2 mission is scheduled to land at the lunar south pole in 2024, followed by an IM-3 mission later this year with several small rovers.

Last month, Japan became the fifth country to place a lander on the moon, and its JAXA space agency achieved an unusually precise landing of its SLIM probe last month. Last year, India became the fourth nation to land on the Moon, after Russia failed in its attempt that same month.

The United States, the former Soviet Union and China are the only other countries to have successfully carried out soft landings. China achieved a world first in 2019 by achieving the first lunar landing on the far side of the Moon.

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