(I had intended to write more this weekend about Rupert Murdoch and his $787 million dollar hush money payment, but there is another dubious character, this one in Texas, who needs attention. The explosion of Elon Musk’s latest gigantic rocket ship is only one more data point that further proves government regulations are failing and the impact of a mad race to Mars has not been properly assessed. We might need to increase public scrutiny of SpaceX, and how it is using our tax dollars. Meanwhile, if you like my work, and think someone else might, too, please share, also, subscribe. That would be really cool. - JM)
We aren't paying for anything other than Musk's public histrionics. The problem is likely just our culture that we lionize these clowns who feed at the public trough and then portray themselves as brave capitalists. We will not have a manned space mission to Mars during Musk's lifetime without much further advanced technology.
The Santa Anna Wildlife Refuge, in fact, is the most popular birding location in the US, as I recall. The birding in the refuges around Boca Chica is also considered quite spectacular. But one wonders if there are any migratory birds still nesting there after the barely sub-nuclear blast that occurred this week.
Thanks, Karen, I appreciate your thoughtful response. I'm hoping we all come to our senses regarding Musk. He is ruining South Texas near the gulf, and not even the EPA is bothering to constrain his nonsense. I think, however, market forces might put an end to his nonsense. Tesla keeps lowering prices and reducing profits, Twitter is in the sewer, and SpaceX has turned into a fireworks manufacturer.
I think humans will occupy Mars, but not during Musk's life. And when it happens, it will be as fragile and akin to a European settler building a cabin on the high plains of Wyoming or Nebraska. Space does seem out destiny, but if we follow Musk we will end up doing to other planets what we've done to this one. We need better technology than fossil-fueled rockets to travel any meaningful distances. And we don't need public-private partnerships like SpaceX to get us there. If it's going to be so profitable, then why can't he just use investment capital instead of coming to taxpayers with his hand out?
Awful!! I have friends in the area - I know the Winter Texans spend half a year there for birding - I can’t believe they all have to put up with falling debris and thunderous sounds . What a freakin nightmare! Stop this idiot - who plays with expensive toys that harm people and environment.
Well, Jim, you gotta blow up a lot of rockets to make a cake. Unfortunately, you gotta also blow up Boca Chica and all the birds and critters too. And maybe some of Padre Island and Brownsville, but we gotta get what we’re paying for. Mars, progress, cheaper, all that stuff.
Continually amazed at the scope of your subject matter.
I think of the tale of the Tower of Babel (Biblical writings are allegory to me)., the hubris of Kings using resources to build a tower that would reach into the heavens. Whether they wanted an equal footing with God or to one up the gods after the great flood, it all came down in disaster and confusion. I watched Challenger come apart from the launch visitor site, a guest of the commander. As they all died I thought of their families and the high price paid for todays Towers of Babel.
Thank you for a well-written and researched article. Musk is a smart salesman. He's not as many claim, a rocket-scientist or even an engineer. He's a very rich man who knows how to market his projects, to grift, and to buy the people who create his cars and rockets. All at the expense of local and federal taxpayers and communities. His has a frightening ability to persuade others to approve and fund his fantastic boondoggles using taxpayer money, at great cost to the local environments where he's overbuilt his lavish facilities. Governments push all prudence and governmental regulations aside; all environmental, safety and health, and financial considerations disappear for his goals. His projects jump from nothing to the sort of expensive debacle we witnessed this week. Necessary developmental phases be damned. I'll guarantee that he didn't expect his ship to explode and fall into the ocean after four minutes and had as his only back-up, a plan to have his paid cheerleaders exclaim that it 's all good, part of the process. He was pretty bombastic about the launch of this ship till a few days before, in which he sought to tamp down expectations. Why? And the destruction of and around his launch facilities and the explosion of sand, particulate matter and cement for hundreds of miles, shows a lack of comprehensive planning, competence and concern for all aspects of his little enterprise. Sadly, too many people are bamboozled by his BS and his claims about colonizing Mars. Any intelligent human can understand that we can't even fix our own atmosphere and repair the damage we've done and do to the Earth's environment, much less generate a livable atmosphere on Mars. And, how, pray tell, could we ever build more than a small space station on Mars given the time it takes to travel there and back. Are we going to take frozen embryos to raise and complete the work? Where would we get the materials to build anything? How would we transport anything from Earth to Mars to build anything? And don't say we'll do it with rockets like the $3 billion behemoth he just deposited on the ocean floor, along with tons of hazardous chemicals and materials. He's receiving huge amounts of taxpayer dollars but complains when he has to pay any income taxes himself and seeks revenge for being asked to do so. Thank you for mentioning the environment, no on else does when mentioning his awful projects. They seem to close their eyes to the incredible destruction wrought by this man and every launch of his mega toys. Why can't they start small and scale up..... And, THANK GOD none of the fool's Boring Company Projects have been approved. I guess even starry-eyed local politicians can't support those ridiculous Musk ambitions.