RPR Episode 3 – Thomas Myers (Physics of SpaceX Blog)

Podcast host John King, interviews Tom Myers, physicist and blogger at The Physics of SpaceX.

We delve into Mars colonisation logistics and future potential technologies. See below for detailed breakdown of discussion.

Link to listen in iTunes: RPR 03 Tom Myers (Physics of SpaceX)

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Subjects discussed, in approximate chronological order:

  • Intro to Tom and how he came to start his blog “The Physics of SpaceX”
  • Why SpaceX only reuses the first stage of the Falcon 9 (Tom explains extrapolating from the rocket equation + other calculations the infeasibility of second stage re-use)
  • What SpaceX Mars colonisation logistics may look like (BFR + MCT). How the MCT could re-fuel in space.
  • How “breaking” when arrive at Mars works (high level) using aerobreaking + retropropulsion
  • Using SpaceX Mars logistics for other organisations (universities, governments) to put things on Mars.
  • Tom’s background in rocketry – competing in solid fuel rocket building competitions against the USA + French
  • 21m – The complexity (?) of an engineering leap from kerosene based fuels to methane
  • Fuel options on Mars (Methane or Hydrogen) + tradeoffs between the two
  • Who might be the first people to go to Mars? SpaceX Engineers / NASA astronauts
  • Mars collaboration going forward? ESA, JSA, China
  • Will others be able to copy/compete with SpaceX?
  • Discussion of Skylon’s single stage to orbit liquid hydrogen concept, how it could bring down the cost of transporting payloads into orbit (in the future), and how extra ‘players’ will increase redundance capacity (should something happen with a BFR etc)
  • Ion engines and “going the long way around” to Mars, to reach it outside of transfer windows
  • 38m – How ion engines work (vs liquid propellant) (loosely explained)
  • If ion engines can go 10x faster, how do they break at the other end? Force of air resistance scales with square of speed
  • 42m – Why ion engines won’t work within the Earth’s gravity
  • SpaceX plans for creating a satellite network to share internet across the world. How it will benefit the world + SpaceX. Including creating communication between Earth + Mars
  • 51m – In situ-resource utilisation. Why we want to go to Mars vs building something in empty space.
  • Resources available on Mars
  • Why asteroid mining from Mars is more appealing than from Earth
  • Feasibility of living underground on Mars – including the speculated empty lava tubes
  • 1hr – Future Mars governance & future independence
  • Self driving cars on Mars
  • 1hr 10m – How Mars will help drive new innovation – through necessity
  • 1hr 18m – Virtual Reality utilisation on Mars – helping the colony to handle reduced space and movement options.
  • 1hr 23m – Gravity on Mars
  • 1m 28m – Various rationales for going to Mars
  • 1hr 31m – Comparing the discovery of the Americas to Mars exploration
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5 Responses to RPR Episode 3 – Thomas Myers (Physics of SpaceX Blog)

  1. John Diedrichs says:

    It would be great (for me) if you could also upload these episodes to the Mars Society’s YouTube channel (to which I’m already subscribed). Even just a brief ‘announcement’ with a link would suffice.

    Anyway, very enjoyable episode. Now that I’m aware of this podcast, I’ll be checking out the others as time allows.


  2. Pingback: Why living off the land is essential | The Physics of Spacex

  3. ErikZ says:

    Between the echo, and your accent, you’re almost impossible to understand.

    • John King says:

      Hey Erik! John here, the podcast host. Thanks for your feedback. Firstly, apologies. If you can get through the sound quality + accent, I hope you’d enjoy the content. Regarding your points – 1) Audio quality – Yep, agreed, this wasn’t perfect. Was my first time recording a podcast, and will endeavor to improve it next time. 2) Accent – Yep – appreciate my accent is British and somewhat different to the North American pronunciation. Whilst I won’t be able to change it drastically, I’ll try and annunciate words more clearly going forward.

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