Tag Archives: rocket


On January 5, 2011, I wrote the following:

“Designer” is a dangerous term, because it usually means some crazy person with ridiculous ideas who then makes CAD drawings or actual mock-ups of his crazy ideas and yet, for some goddamn reason, I appear to be the only person to notice that said idea is crazy.

That was 65 months ago, and it still holds true. “Designers” with no actual science knowledge or reality filter of any kind are the bread and butter of this blog, whether it’s a transparent toaster or a whole bunch of bullshit cooking tools or a pedal-powered submarine or magnetic roads or a rocket that doesn’t exist or a redesigned bicycle or concept cars or a fridge that tramples every law of physics it comes across like a hormonal bull in a sexy china shop. And that’s like a third of the total posts under my “design” category.

But people take these seriously. People write newspaper articles breathlessly extolling the virtues of a moon elevator or solar panels in space or a rocket that will take us to Alpha Centauri, powered only by kale, even though the crackpot that thought it up has no qualifications other than being able to make pretty 3D renderings on his computer.

And that brings us to this.


There’s an old adage that any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered with a “no.” That’s not going to change here. Let’s dive in.

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Ever been to the website Elite Daily?  If you haven’t, don’t bother.  Home of such journalistic masterpieces as “Zayn Malik Isn’t Worried About Leaving One Direction Because His Fiance Is Hot As F*ck” and “Man Given 18 Months To Live Says Cannabis Oil Cured His Cancer,” it’s a long-running stream of feel-good drivel that’s generally harmless.  Sometimes they veer out of the world of hot-button cultural issues like “Starbucks Is Coming Out With A S’mores Frappuccino In Time For Summer” and into the realm of science.  Like this headline here.

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A while ago, several news outlets of varying degrees of reputability reported on the intentions of a company called Liftport to build a space elevator, but not on the Earth where it’d be accessible by human beings.  They want to build one on the moon.  But first they have to figure out if it’s possible.  And before that, they have to do some stuff with balloons.  It’s complicated.  I’ll explain.

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First things first.  This story came from Inhabitat.  Based on the vast majority of my previous experience with Inhabitat, we can immediately assume that they don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.  Second, they’re talking about space and rockets, and based on my previous experience with basically any news source, no one knows what the fuck they’re talking about in those fields.  But maybe I’m judging too fast.  Let’s dive in.

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So China, since they have tons of money (and all of our money too), has decided that they want to go to the moon.  With people.  In order to do that, they need to find a place to land on the moon, and rather than map it with super high-powered telescopes like we did, they decided to send a probe to orbit it for five days and try to find a good spot.  Seems reasonable enough.

In order to launch a probe though, you need a huge-ass rocket.  And not all of the rocket gets to go all the way to the moon, since some of it exists only to push the rest of it out of Earth’s gravity.  The pushing part of the rocket then falls back to Earth, where you hope it doesn’t hit anyone.

Pictured: not hitting anyone.

Pictured: not hitting anyone.

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