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SpaceX and the Future of Space...
Feb 8, 2018 at 11:53 PM
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Food For Thought

What does the launch of the Falcon Heavy mean for the future of space exploration?

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Why It's Relevant

On Tuesday, Elon Musk's SpaceX successfully debuted its newest rocket called the Falcon Heavy. The reusable rocket, believed to be the world's most powerful, carried a red Tesla Roadster as its mock payload during its widely-publicized test launch. The Falcon Heavy is considered to be a major breakthrough in rocket technology. It has twice the lift capacity of the biggest rocket in America's existing fleet but costs just 1/4 as much.

SpaceX is a private space company founded by Elon Musk, a mercurial billionaire who has been vocal about his desire to colonize Mars. Musk is also the CEO and co-founder of Tesla.

Food For Thought

What does the launch of the Falcon Heavy mean for the future of space exploration?

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The Guardian

Why Elon Musk’s SpaceX launch is utterly depressing

Nathan Robinson
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Our Article Commentary

This view from The Guardian expresses a belief that the SpaceX launch embodies misplaced societal priorities, and is a great misuse of money. Here are some of the types of arguments used:

  • The exorbitant amount of media coverage dedicated to the SpaceX launch was disheartening, considering that it drew attention away from more significant news stories like the plight of refugees in war-torn Syria.
  • The launch illustrates how misplaced priorities are in a society where the extremes of wealth and poverty continue to grow further and further apart.
  • If Elon Musk was spending just his own money on frivolous rocket launches, there would be little to criticize, but because the US government invests large sums of money into Musk’s various companies via government subsidies, US citizens should call out his wastefulness and urge him to focus on humanitarian crises on earth.
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City Metric

With Falcon Heavy, SpaceX staged an amazing launch – but what about the environmental impact?

Ian Whittaker
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This view from CityMetric points out some downsides to the Falcon Heavy launch, expressing these types of sentiments:

  • The launch of Falcon Heavy marks some significant achievements and generated much-needed public enthusiasm for the space-travel industry, but potential negative consequences must be considered.
  • The carbon content in the kerosene needed to fuel rockets like Falcon Heavy will become a serious environmental hazard if the frequency of launches continues to accelerate.
  • The final destination of the car aboard the rocket is unknown, and could cause harmful effects in space, such as compromising the atmosphere of Mars, colliding with an asteroid in the asteroid belt, or risk the spread of disease through the solar system.
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CNN

Elon Musk just launched our earthshaking new adventure

Gene Seymour
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This opinion by Gene Seymour describes how the SpaceX launch marks the dawn of a thrilling new space age. Here are some of the types of beliefs conveyed:

  • The Falcon Heavy launch embodies all the promise and possibility on the horizon for the private space travel industry.
  • Watching the rocket launch invoked nostalgia for NASA's early milestones, with the important difference being that now space travel does not burden the taxpayer.
  • The next space race of the current era will be an exciting competition between private companies, and the world will be along for the ride.
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The Moscow Times

How Elon Musk Beat Russia's Space Program

Leonid Bershidsky
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This opinion from The Moscow Times explains how the SpaceX launch represents failure on behalf of the Russian space agency, making these types of points:

  • Elon Musk’s auspicious launch is particularly painful for Russia, considering the Soviet Union attempted the feat several times during the Space Race without success.
  • SpaceX has uncovered a powerful bitterness within the current day Russian space industry and the government-funded Roscosmos agency; a spokesman for a Russian satellite manufacturer released a Facebook statement following the Falcon Heavy launch, denying it was anything extraordinary.
  • The Falcon Heavy launch highlights the benefits of privatized space exploration: industries infused with private passions will continue to beat out state sponsored ones, and Roscosmos has fallen behind, perhaps for good.
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