Unscheduled Disassembly

Not my words.
Even Elon Musk said it had a 50/50 chance (man after my own heart there, things either do or don’t)
He did say the launch would be “spectacular.” :slight_smile:

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… and really!! What kind of euphemistic bull is, ‘an unscheduled and rapid disassembly’? It blew up! I didn’t know whether to laugh or swear at that. I plumped for the latter – copiously.

I watched the whole launch earlier. I think they were just happy it got off the ground :smiley:

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They said anything after it cleared the tower was icing on the cake.
The clapping and the cheering in the background were the flight engineers. You could hear them go quiet when they knew something had gone wrong, but they got right back to clapping and cheering even as it exploded. I gotta admire that.

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As much as I’m in favor of space exploration, I’m really growing tired of the Elon Musk drama show.


Elon is Elon … another eccentric being. He is so out there most of the time I’ve tuned him out. I still love watching the launches though … it really has nothing to do with him at that point. It’s not like he narrates it or anything. It’s pretty similar to watching a NASA launch. That’s the fun part for me :smile:

Yes, I watched it for the same reasons you did. The most gigantic rocket ever built blasting off into space is worth seeing (even if it didn’t quite make it there).

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I agree. It’s hard not to be. I still remember half the school squeezed into the library to watch the first space shuttle take off, An amazing moment il will never forget.

However, for me, it is something that shouldn’t be deregulated and should be the remit of nasa and other official space agencies, for various reasons.

Possibly more pertinently, I am left feeling – especially watching the thing explode – what a phenomenal waste of money. How much good could someone in his position do on the planet with that kind of cash? How many lives could have been radically improved by simply using it to put water in villages? I’d have far more respect for that kind of philanthropy.

I also thought about how much money was spent building a giant rocket that blew up a minute or two after launch and how that money might have benefited countless people. Lots of money is spent on seemingly wasteful purposes, though — war obviously being the most egregious example.

Even so, I think it’s OK that Elon Musk, Richard Branson, or Jeff Bezos want to find ways to develop businesses around space. Still, I think it’s important to recognize their commercial or personal motives aren’t the same as those of NASA or the ESA.

With public-funded space exploration, the goal is usually science and knowledge, which I think is a worthy endeavor that demonstrates our species’ best qualities. Private enterprises would have never funded the Hubble or James Webb Space Telescopes since neither would have returned a profit. Over the long term, though, the knowledge gained from these telescopes and the technology developed to make them possible will pay for both many times over.

Musk’s goal for his Starship isn’t a quest for knowledge; it’s a quest to make money and a personal fool’s errand to colonize Mars. Earth-supported outposts on Mars are possible (as they are in Antarctica), but a self-supporting colony on an arid and frigid planet (an average of -60° C) with less than half the sunlight and an unbreathable atmospheric pressure of less than 1% of Earth’s isn’t even remotely doable in the foreseeable future. Of course, NASA contracts with Musk’s SpaceX, so private or public space funding isn’t an either-or situation.

This could become the fastest plane ever.

That’s my problem with it. Whenever humanity has taken a direction with the profit motive as it guiding light, without fail, it has screwed it up. Every environment we venture in to has been diminished so people like musk, et al, can become billionaires, then in turn not use that wealth for anything like doing good. Just build, consume profit.

They’d better find a way quickly to make a planet with minus sixty temperatures and no atmosphere a hospitable place for humans, because if we continue much longer with an, exploit – grow – profit – rinse and repeat approach, this plant one won’t be all that hospitable either. It feels like every time humanity has the choice to take a wise part or a greedy one, option two is the path taken.

I am not against making money, but there’s a point when you have to know you have so much that you can never begin to use and then use the remainder wisely, rather that on vast vanity projects, which ultimately will compound the critical situation we find ourselves in now.

I don’t care what people spend their money on. Starship, via online reports, cost a puny $5B,
and there were a lot of people employed in the process.
That’s a drop in the bucket compared to what the US Government wastes of MY money every day.

Let’s just put it this way…
I’d much prefer Elon Musk colonizing the moon (or Mars) than others I could name.
With the moon as a platform, all a hostile nation has to do is throw rocks.

This subject would make an excellent hour-long discussion over a couple of beers at a nearby pub.

Centuries of innovation motivated by profit motive have provided us with the conveniences and beneficial technologies we take for granted daily. Accumulating extreme wealth seems a bit offensive to me (especially the extravagances made possible by it when compared to millions living in poverty). Still, it’s not as though the money sits around in a vault unused. That wealth is typically in the valuation of the businesses that employ millions of people to make products and services that people want.

Your second point is where my views become complex. Many of humanity’s traits served our prehistoric ancestors well. Our species evolved to cope with the challenges of living in the savannas of Africa. Inventing tools enabled them to hunt more effectively. An innate desire for sweets and salt provided an incentive to search for food that provided nutrients that were in short supply. Tribal associations provided protection and the ability to develop specialized individual skills within the tribes. Those with the most valuable skills thrived. Aggression against neighboring tribes enabled the survival and prosperity of the tribes that succeeded.

These traits and proclivities provided a survival advantage. Those best able to survive and thrive were better positioned to pass along those genetic-based and cultural traits to their offspring. In other words, these traits evolved and became embedded within our species through the process of natural selection of the fittest.

Fast forward a hundred thousand years or so, and these deeply rooted traits are still with us, even though we don’t live as hunter-gatherers on the plains of Africa. Unfortunately, there were no evolutionary pressures until relatively recently to develop cutoff points for when those traits become societally detrimental instead of advantageous.

For example, our ability to invent tools has given us nuclear weapons capable of destroying humanity. Our ability to invent has provided the means to produce unlimited quantities of once-rare sweet carbohydrates and salt, which has resulted in an epidemic of obesity and health problems from overeating. Our tendencies to form tribal associations have produced dangerous divisiveness without our larger societies. Our aggressive tendencies and our tribal impulses, combined with our ability to invent tools, have led to warfare that could destroy nearly everything. Within a decade or two, our species’ inventiveness will provide small radical groups and demented individuals the means to use AI and genetic sequencing to develop lethal pathogens that could kill everyone on the planet. In many ways, the future looks grim.

More relevant to the discussion that started this is that natural selection provided no built-in cutoff point for people’s desire to improve their status and wealth within their social groups. There’s no point at which people like Elon Musk say, "My position is secure, and my driving motivation has changed. I want to use my wealth and power to serve humanity in the best way possible.

There are exceptions, of course. Bill Gates has dedicated his wealth to helping fight poverty and disease worldwide. Andrew Carnegie built hundreds of public libraries with his fortune. Warren Buffet has committed to giving away his billions to charitable causes.

Then there are people like Musk, whose motivations seem to be using his fortunes to build the most enormous, most bad-assed rockets ever built and blast them off into space while tweeting bad jokes and making juvenile comments on Twitter — for no particular reason other than his ability to indulge himself in any way that suits him.

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The thing is, he spends it. If he’s buying stuff with it, that is, in a way, helping other people he’s buying the stuff from. Maybe he just hasn’t matured enough yet to quit with the jokes or seek a “higher purpose” - whatever that may be in other’s eyes. For this rocket, he’s gotten praise from NASA among others for the achievement. Perhaps this is his muse. His Art.

Personally, I still think he’s out to tank Twitter.
That would certainly be a service to humanity.