The Falcon has landed

A rocket costs about Rs 4,000 crore to build

Given the seemingly never-ending problems on Earth, compounded every day by crises both natural and manmade, not to speak of doomsday scenarios being painted afresh as in dangers from asteroids and comets or dug out from ancient texts, it might just make sense for man to be a multi-planet creature than be tied down to one. The pioneering business magnate Elon Musk’s cutting-edge firm SpaceX might have taken the first step this week towards simplifying the journey to Mars, the nearest planet to us, in successfully landing a rocket upright back on Earth after it launched an array of satellites into space.

The complicated manoeuvre of turning around to land back on Earth may have been achieved before, as in the start-up rocket company of Amazon boss Jeff Bezos demonstrating similar technology last month in sub-orbital flight. However, reigniting engines in the course of orbital flight after propelling the second-stage rocket further to launch a commercial payload of satellites is a challenge of a far higher technical scale altogether, which is why the scientific world is agog with the feat of Falcon 9. Mankind may still be decades away from sending a manned flight to the Red Planet, but imagine how much the cost of replenishing supplies and sending more people to the International Space Station could come down if reusable rocket technology is proven by a second success. While a rocket costs about Rs 4,000 crore to build, the cost of fuel is only about Rs 13 crores. Maybe, one day, there will be a Musk Colony on Mars, named after Elon.

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( Source : deccan chronicle )
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