Musk Reads: Nuke Mars, Elon Musk Declares

Elon Musk wants to nuke Mars, SpaceX's Starhopper is set for delays, and Starman could soon receive a visitor.

Elon Musk wants to nuke Mars; the Starhopper is set for delays; and Starman could soon receive a visitor. It’s Musk Reads: SpaceX Edition #97.

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Musk Quote of the Week

“Nuking Mars one T-shirt at a time.”


“Nuke Mars!” Musk declared Thursday evening. The CEO’s declaration, followed up with a T-shirt sale, is part of a broader plan to establish a city on Mars at a cost of up to $10 trillion. His plan to nuke Mars, or use a giant artificial sun, is aimed at releasing the planet’s carbon dioxide stores and making its surface slightly more hospitable. Musk has described colonizing other worlds as one of his big dreams, but his idea to nuke the planet has received pushback from researchers who say the planet doesn’t have enough carbon dioxide. Read more.

The Starship may have hit a slight speed bump on its journey to Mars. SpaceX is currently aiming to send the Starhopper on a short, 200-meter jump to demonstrate the Raptor engine’s usefulness for a future orbital prototype. However, a proposed launch window of August 16 to 18 came and went without approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. Musk explained on August 15 that the team would “need a bit more hazard analysis” before the miniaturized rocket can lift off. New heat shield tiles have been spotted on the craft by eagle-eyed photographers near the Texas launch base.

Where is Starman? The SpaceX dummy, launched into space on Musk’s red Tesla Roadster using the Falcon Heavy last February, has been careering around the solar system. Musk suggested on Sunday that SpaceX could send up a craft “in a few years” to take a look at the dummy and see how it’s done on its trip. The website WhereIsRoadster states the dummy is moving toward Mars at a speed of 25,754 mph.

What’s next for SpaceX: Musk is expected to take the stage on August 24 to explain more about the Starship, the current state of the project, and what comes next in the plan to send humans to Mars.

Dragon Capsule

Remember CRS-18? SpaceX’s resupply mission to the International Space Station last month carried a wealth of bizarre cargo like Nickelodeon slime, but the Dragon capsule also carried a biofabrication facility. Inverse spoke with William Wagner, director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, about how the facility and others like it could pave the way for 3D-printed organs in space. Wagner admits that the area has a “long way” to go before doctors are printing off new kidneys for patients, but early experiments in this area suggest space could provide answers to some of the big research questions. Read more.

Photo of the Week

Booster-catching ship Just Read the Instructions arrives in Panama en route to an as-yet unclear destination.

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The Ultra-Fine Print

This has been Musk Reads: SpaceX Edition #97, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

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