This imaginative drawing liked by Elon Musk reveals just how crazy SpaceX's first missions to Mars will be

big falcon rocket spaceship bfr bfs cutaway drawing diagram illustration labeled copyright nick oberg

Elon Musk, the founder of the rocket company SpaceX, has „aspirational“ plans to launch people to Mars in 2024 and ultimately colonize the red planet.

To make the roughly six-month one-way journey, Musk and his engineers have dreamed up a 347-foot-tall launch system called the Big Falcon Rocket, or BFR. The spacecraft is designed to have two fully reusable stages: a 19-story booster and a 16-story spaceship, which would fly on top of the booster and into into space.

SpaceX employees are now building a prototype of the Big Falcon Spaceship at the Port of Los Angeles. Gwynne Shotwell, the company’s president and COO, reportedly said Thursday that the spaceship may start small test-launches in late 2019.

Several official graphics of the spaceship’s internal structure exist, but none show exactly how the ship would be equipped for Mars. So spaceflight-loving artist Nick Oberg created his own illustration of how the vehicle might look and function on the inside.

Oberg is a 29-year-old scientist at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, where he’s working toward a PhD in astrophysics. But he used some spare time to make what he calls an „imaginative“ cutaway drawing of the BFR spaceship. It includes detailed sketches of hydroponic greenhouses, messy crew cabins, and even a person pooping on a zero-gravity toilet.

Oberg posted the cross-section illustration to Reddit in June, and it found its way onto Twitter — where Musk saw and liked the artwork.

„It was really out of impatience that I made this, because I can’t wait to see what SpaceX is going to do with its mission,“ Oberg told Business Insider. „I was also excited to show other people what was happening, to make it seem more real. It’s like a magic trick that’s too good: It seems to go over people’s heads. You can say, ‚We are going to build a giant rocket ship,‘ but most people don’t understand. I thought illustrating it would help.“

Here are the key parts of Oberg’s full drawing; the captions he gave each one are above the images, and additional explanations from him are below.

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Oberg said he based his drawing on publicly released graphics of the Big Falcon Rocket’s spaceship.

Oberg said drawing is a creative outlet for him when he’s not using computer programming to study moon formation around planets like Jupiter.

He created the SpaceX ship graphic bit-by-bit over the course of about two months, drawing inspiration from Stephen Biesty’s popular cross-section books that show the insides of castles, war ships, the Titanic, and other elaborate structures.

But Ober noted that he „is not in any way an engineer“ and his graphic of the Big Falcon Spaceship „almost certainly has completely ridiculous things in it that make no sense.“

Nevertheless, his vision of Big Falcon Spaceship’s guts has grown popular in the absence of official details from SpaceX.

„Some people take these diagrams very seriously,“ he said. „I’m glad I’ve gotten people arguing about things they hadn’t thought about before.“


Airlock: „Ship exterior inspection and repair must be carried out by space-walks. The airlock is used to allow astronauts to step out of the ship while maintaining pressurization elsewhere.“

„I figured it would be a vital need to leave the ship and make repairs to, say, a micrometeorite hit to a fuel tank,“ Oberg said.

Cargo bay: „All large cargo for Mars is stored here. ISRU [resource extraction] equipment, rovers, suits, solar panels, all the gear needed to start a new life far away.“

„I made the cargo bay a bit empty so you can see inside of the ship. I imagine this cargo bay will be much more full than I have imagined it, though,“ Oberg said. „They’ll have to come up with clever packing arrangements. Food will fill a large amount of this volume.“

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: Business insider

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