Beacon Transcript – Elon Musk, billionaire, entrepreneur, dreamer, founder of SpaceX and high-bar setter in the aerospace world, is scouring through Sci-fi for his newest improbable dream starship name.
It is quite a common trend throughout the aerospace world to draw inspiration from famous works of Science Fiction, mythology, man’s greatest sea voyages or from famous celestial bodies. With NASA’s already famous Challenger, Endeavour and Enterprise (a nod to their fan’s love for the “Star Trek” legend) and the United Launch Alliance Atlas Rocket and in-development project Vulcan, science fiction still is a large pool in which you can fish for a name, and SpaceX’s Elon Musk is no exception.
The company’s Falcon rocket pays homage to Han Solo, the Dragon capsule (“Puff the Magic Dragon”, a jab towards his non-believers) hauls cargo and hopefully, in a couple of years, people. Let’s not forget the two ocean platforms with names inspired by the “The Player of Games”, a 1988 Iain M. Banks novel.
His newest starship is set to accomplish one of humanity’s most improbable dreams, that of setting up a colony on Mars. The as yet improbable task is to establish a self-sustaining colony, somewhere around the size of 1 million people, as is stated in Musk’s much-anticipated plan.
The perfect source for the improbable dream starship name seems to be “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy “, the 1979 Douglas Adams classic novel of Earth’s last surviving man and his space adventures.
The most suitable name seems to be the “Heart of Gold”, the starship that drives on Infinite Improbability Drive. Although the acronym fails to deliver (All aboard the HOG?) Musk explains that it would be the perfect choice for a spacecraft that is still on the improbable side, as there are quite a lot of trials and tribulations to take into consideration and to surpass until man can set foot (and keep it there) on Mars.
The flight towards the Red Planet is conditioned by quite a number of factors, one of the foremost being the 26 months launching window that the planet itself sets. A most optimistic launch is envisioned for Florida, 2024 with the arrival date being set for approximately a year later, but as things don’t always go right in the rocketry world, the closeness and outcome of an actual launch is yet unknown.
Much aspired for and envisioned in the possibility plain, the billionaire admits there will probably still be failures along the way and hoops that need to be passed, and that the hardest parts and biggest trials will be faced by the intrepid voyagers that will set out with the improbable dream starship, the “Heart of Gold?”
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