A Cappuccino on Mars

Mr Sir Richard Branson has just announced he would like to take us all to Mars.  Well, not all of us, but a decent colony’s worth.  The 62 year old starry-eyed entrepreneur billionaire thinks it’s possible within his lifetime.  I’m inclined to believe him…

Since first seeing Total Recall I have wanted to visit the Red Planet.  Not for the mutant prostitutes, but for the sheer mind-aching desert of it all.  I would want to take a bus-ride way out of the colony, to the middle of nowhere, camp in a pressurised tent and gaze back at Earth…

I think the only way to achieve this is to start getting to space more anyway, but then to get artificial centrifugal gravity sorted as soon as possible.  A big wheel like 2001:A Space Odyssey would be nice, but it would be the biggest thing we’ve ever constructed in space.  Hugely expensive.

The obvious solution?  Some sort of bolas-based ship.  Once accelerated to sufficient speed, the cables are unwound and the whole thing rotated.  In it’s simplest form as an orbiting station, it would provide a long-term experiment into the biological effects of various gravities, for instance Lunar or Martian.

A bolas style proposal for artificial gravity ship

You would still experience Coriolis forces, but at least you’d be able to take a decent bath…

This particular ship employs already existing technology, unlike the “2001” wheel.  Tethered com-sats have already been tried, the ISS is a fantastic piece of modular design hurtling above our heads, and, of course, we got robots on Mars.  This just sticks all those things together.

The first thing we should establish on Mars perhaps should be a mirror cache of the Earth internet.

Then we should set up a mining colony – I’m pretty sure there might be iron there on Mars somewhere.  This would have schools, hospitals and a supply chain.

From there on in, biodomes, hotels, offices, cafe’s.  I wonder what the foam on a cappuccino would taste like at one-quarter gravity?

When all is said and done, a trip to Mars feels pretty inevitable.  Virgin Galactic have a wee sideline putting satellites into orbit, by launching a rocket from their sub-orbital space-plane.  With their manned sub-orbital trips just round the corner, it doesn’t take much leaping of the imagination to stick some people in a similar rocket and shoot them off to a Space Hotel, or an outpost station to Mars…

One of the great advantages of a space-plane / rocket (or even a balloon-launched rocket!) is that traditional rockets shake like “a washing machine” at first, due to the intense speed and friction of the air.  Launch the rocket at the edge of the atmosphere, and it’s a smooth ride all (most) of the way.

Then, across the, er… (we need a euphemism like the Atlantic “pond”), expanse, we could have a Virgin Space-Plane/Rocket on Mars.  Across the whole journey, people would only have to experience weightlessness in short, fun, bursts that don’t require the physical regime of ancient Sparta to stop one’s bones dissolving.

Zero-gravity space bone-itis notwithstanding, I’ll see you on Mars…

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One response to “A Cappuccino on Mars

  1. Pingback: Entrepreneur Insights - Richard Branson - His Story [Video]

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