To Reddit and Beyond

SpaceX fans are powering the race to Mars through Reddit

The new space race is playing out in real-time on social media.

Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The internet gets a bad reputation, but it’s not all assholes and your dwindling attention span. The best of the internet comes from community, many of which are composed of people that would otherwise have never had the opportunity to meet. This is especially true in the case of SpaceX and its global fans on Reddit.

Falcon 9, waiting for your upvotes.Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

An unlikely alliance

As private companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, and others race to boost access to space, fans online pore over specs and stats to better understand how humanity plans to move into the stars. It’s a far cry from the sixties-era space race, where televised images were cutting-edge.

A key focal point of this new movement is Reddit’s SpaceX subreddit. With over one million subscribers, it’s played host to several question-and-answer sessions from the biggest names in space:

  • Elon Musk hosted an “ask me anything” session in October 2016 to supplement his talk on making humanity a multi-planetary species.
  • The SpaceX software team explained in a May 2021 session how Starship’s software completes the landing maneuver.
  • Robert Zubrin, president of the Mars Society, hosted a September 2021 session where he explained how “the purpose of going to space is to create new nations.”

Want to know more about r/SpaceX’s behind the scenes, why the best Ask Me Anything event wasn’t Elon Musk’s, and how the internet is invaluable to SpaceX’s success? Read the full interview with Forest Katsch, only in MUSK READS+.

But who keeps it running?

The community's volunteer moderators like Forest Katsch work tirelessly to maintain this beating heart of the movement while keeping discussions on track. Speaking to Inverse in July 2020, the 25-year-old Texas-based software developer explains how he was first inspired when he saw the Falcon 9 Grasshopper tests in 2013 to 2014.

“My first thought was, ‘this has got to be fake’,” he says. “You can't do this, rocket engines can't fly like that!”

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