Elon Musk launches Tesla – Falcon Heavy test flight

Elon Musk launched his Tesla, but this was a launch was different, it was the launch of his own Cherry Red Roadster in to space.

Some people in NASA criticised the plan of NASA to use corporate suppliers to design and launch rockets needed for them to replace the space shuttle — enabling manned missions to the international space station (strange because I think previous rocket engines were built commercially?).

The Falcon Heavy maiden flight was intended to accomplish several objectives:

  • survive launch
  • separate the side booster cores
  • return the two side boosters to Cape Canaveral
  • separate the core and the upper stage to light engines for orbit insertion
  • land the central first stage booster core on an autonomous drone ship
  • relight the upper stage to orbit in the van Allen belts for several hours
  • relight the upper stage again to put the payload into its heliocentric orbit


It was reported that after a successful launch, the two booster rockets successfully (simultaneously) landed back at the Cape Canaveral launch site. The core engine impacted 100 meters from the drone ship at 500 kilometres per hour, after 2 of 3 engines failed to reignite.The final upper stage transfer burn to solar orbit produced an orbit that will be beyond the orbit of Mars at its furthest point from the sun.


Hawking warns about alien contact

Stephen Hawking says although life almost certainly exists elsewhere, we should not attempt to actively initiate contact with extra–terrestrial life forms. As Jared Diamond has pointed out before, historical evidence of encounters between humans, and biological evidence of contacts of different groups of animals, shows it always goes badly for the native population, often resulting in extinction of species, or subjugation and slavery amongst humans.

Unfortunately for us, at least one group is scientists have taken it up on themselves to try to make earth orders of magnitude more visible in the galaxy. Their rational is that all advanced lifeforms (capable of inter-stellar travel) would be altruistic.

A nice discussion of this topic can be read here:

And an editorial in Nature discussed this in 2006:

Egg Egg Egg: Egg Egg

I don’t really understand what this is all about, but I found it on the Ingenta Blog so it must be a top paper.

Chicken Chicken Chicken Paper from the Annals of Improbable Research

One graph from the paper shows this result:
Chicken chicken chicken chicken

All I can conclude from this is that “Chicken chicken” and “chicken” are dimensionless numbers.

It was recently concluded that the egg was first, and so it was a major omission in this paper on “Chicken Chicken Chicken: Chicken Chicken” not to mention of the “Egg Egg Egg:Egg Egg” coming first allowing the paper to be read in the proper context.

—- update —
Chicken Chicken Chicken: Chicken Chicken has been presented;

Stephen Hawking in Space.

Stephen Hawking has carried out his plan to fly on a zero-G plane. Before the flight he said he was looking forward to leaving his wheelchair after being confined for several decades.

Hawking lecture photograph

He’d really like to go to space next. Prof. Hawking says that mankind must go into space if we are to survive.

Hawking flies taken from BBC news website

Space Elevators Problems

New scientist is carrying a story about the problems of making a space elevator. Rather than thinking about the significant problems of fabricating such a cable, when no materials exist of sufficient strength, they are now talking about the problems of radiation from the Van Allen belts. The length of time spent in the Van Allen belt may be several days in current designs which envisage elevators travelling at 200 kilometers per hour. Solutions to this problem mean increased weight of the carriage or cable.

Read the New scientist article