Competition Comes to Space Industry

The private rocket company Space-X is currently developing the Falcon Heavy, a heavy-lift rocket capable of carrying twice the payload of current rockets at half the cost. 

What's the Latest Development?

The private pace venture Space-X is investing money into the Vandenberg Air Force Base to make its facilities suitable for launching rockets into space. Space-X's latest project is a heavy-lift vehicle called Falcon Heavy which it expects can carry a payload of 117,000 pounds in low Earth orbit. This is double the current limit of 50,000 pounds that can be carried by Boeing/Lockheed Martin's heavy lift vehicle. Space-X says each launch of its Falcon Heavy will cost only half as much as the rocket the Air Force currently depends on to launch satellites. 

What's the Big Idea?

Competition has come to the space industry, and not a moment too soon. After space shuttle Atlantis completes its final mission this month to restock the International Space Station (I.S.S.), N.A.S.A. will no longer have the capability to launch astronauts into space. Space-X has already been contracted to restock the I.S.S. when its heavy-lift vehicle is operational. The company's main goal is to attract government contracts, specifically armed forces missions to launch space satellites. Currently the military relies on a joint launch venture controlled by Boeing and Lockheed Martin. 

Stress is contagious–but resilience can be too

The way that you think about stress can actually transform the effect that it has on you – and others.

Big Think Edge
  • Stress is contagious, and the higher up in an organization you are the more your stress will be noticed and felt by others.
  • Kelly McGonigal teaches "Reset your mindset to reduce stress" for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

5 short podcasts to boost your creativity and success

These quick bursts of inspiration will brighten your day in 10 minutes or less.

Personal Growth

Podcasts can educate us on a variety of topics, but they don't have to last an hour or more to have an impact on the way you perceive the world. Here are five podcasts that will boost your creativity and well-being in 10 minutes or less.

Keep reading Show less

Philosopher Alan Watts: 'Why modern education is a hoax'

Explore a legendary philosopher's take on how society fails to prepare us for education and progress.

Alan Watts.
Personal Growth
  • Alan Watts was an instrumental figure in the 1960s counterculture revolution.
  • He believed that we put too much of a focus on intangible goals for our educational and professional careers.
  • Watts believed that the whole educational enterprise is a farce compared to how we should be truly living our lives.
Keep reading Show less

Mining the Moon

How can we use the resources that are already on the Moon to make human exploration of the satellite as economical as possible?

The All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (ATHLETE), a prototype heavy-lift utility vehicle to support future human exploration of extraterrestrial surfaces, at right, is parked beside the Habitat Demonstration Unit - Pressurized Excursion Module (HDU-PEM), at left, a concept off-Earth living and work quarters for astronauts stationed on asteroids, the moon or Mars, 15 September 2010. Photo by: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
Technology & Innovation

If you were transported to the Moon this very instant, you would surely and rapidly die. That's because there's no atmosphere, the surface temperature varies from a roasting 130 degrees Celsius (266 F) to a bone-chilling minus 170 C (minus 274 F). If the lack of air or horrific heat or cold don't kill you then micrometeorite bombardment or solar radiation will. By all accounts, the Moon is not a hospitable place to be.

Keep reading Show less