On December 21, SpaceX made history. A Falcon 9 rocket landed, undamaged, at a landing site after the ORBCOMM-2 launch. After almost eight months of testing, SpaceX finally stuck the landing.
This achievement may seem like something that doesn’t apply to you, but a
successful landing marks a step forward for SpaceX and for our chances of getting to visit Mars within our lifetime. Landing a successful rocket not only shows that SpaceX is capable of making forward progress in the industry, but also gives credibility to the plan to put humans on Mars in 2026. And if SpaceX can keep up this rapid pace of discovery and innovation, we could see a self-sustaining colony of a million people on Mars within the near future.
(before and after photos of the rocket)
The recovery of a rocket marks a huge first step towards cheap, sustainable space travel. If costs keep dropping at this rate, it might be possible to send people to Mars for $500,000, making a colony on Mars a not so distant possibility. In fact, Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, thinks that Americans will stop buying houses and start buying tickets to Mars. When current M-A students start looking to buy a house, it might not be a question of which neighborhood to live in, but on which planet!
This is good news for the future, but if you just want more videos of rockets blowing up, don’t worry. The technology still isn’t perfect.