“I like to think of it as humanity’s great taunting. Space taunts us because it’s always indirectly across the cosmic window. Just on the other side of the glass is this great expanse that we can see, we can imagine, but we cannot touch. And that lure is irresistible,” says Jeffrey Kluger, the Senior Science Correspondent for TIME.
The mystery of space has spanned throughout history and across ancient civilizations for centuries. Today, humanity has reached new heights of space exploration by sending an all-civilian rocket into orbit.
SpaceX is set on advancing humankind through space. The business's most recent venture, Inspiration 4, is documented throughout the 5-part Netflix series, Countdown: Inspiration 4 Mission to Space. Below are four ways that SpaceX will be making history, as told throughout the first two episodes of the docuseries.
1. One of the Crew Members, Hayley Arceneaux, Will Be the First Person in Space with a Prosthetic Implant
When deciding who would be his crewmembers aboard the mission, billionaire and commander Jared Isaacman followed four pillars, leadership -of which he represented- hope, generosity, and prosperity. Arceneaux represents hope after a childhood battle with bone cancer that resulted in her needing a prosthetic implant in her leg. She fought her battle at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and grew up to become a Physician’s Assistant for the organization.
Throughout the episodes, Arceneaux expresses her caution for how her prosthetic will react on the journey, noting that it has broken a few times throughout her life. Nevertheless, her courage and ambitious attitude will open up space travel to a whole new realm of individuals.
2. Inspiration4 Will Surpass the International Space Station
In an attempt to push the boundaries, Isaacman suggested flying further into space than many other missions have gone, even passing the International Space Station. After continued discussion within the meeting, we watch as Isaacman convinces SpaceX employees to allow the push.
In the past, NASA has averaged a distance of 200km into orbit. Inspiration4 will exceed this distance by venturing 575km into space and will further create history by doing so with an all-civilian crew.
3. The Trip Is Believed to Bring Humanity One Step Closer to Life on Mars
Throughout the first and second episodes, we see the topic of civilization on Mars is brought up, even playing a role in why Isaacman wants to travel past the international space station. He notes that if the goal is to bring humanity to Mars, the mission needs to exceed expectations and prove that anything is possible.
Elon Musk even makes a cameo, stating that “it’s important for the future of humanity to be a multi-planetary species so that we better understand the nature of the universe, and also protects us against some calamity on earth."
What was previously considered a farfetched idea when first mentioned years ago has since become closer to reality than ever before. Though there is still a long way to go, the emphasis on the importance of this mission in achieving that goal is prevalent throughout the series.
SpaceX's website shares more of Musk's outlook on a multi-planetary civilization: “You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great - and that’s what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.”
4. The Rocket Is Reusable
Throughout the beginning of the docuseries, Kluger mentions that thanks to Musk's idea, the rocket will also have the ability to be reused for future missions, something that has never previously been done. Their website explains that "While most rockets are designed to burn up on reentry, SpaceX rockets can not only withstand reentry but can also successfully land back on Earth and refly again."
This ability to remaster rockets to be reusable is a giant step for space travel as the concern of environmental damage has been a heavy and prominent topic throughout the past couple of years. With all of the materials, labor, and money that goes into building these impressive rockets, it is rather an exciting feat that they can launch into space and return only to be reused. This eco-friendly prospect is only the beginning, as we can expect SpaceX to implement other more sustainable alternatives to future projects and potentially even lead space travel to have a minimal environmental footprint.
Though the plausible outcome of this mission is currently unknown, there is no doubt that it has the potential to change the future as we know it. The prospect of alternative resources, contact with other life, and exploring a world unknown could have the ability to benefit life on earth to extents beyond belief.
The 2nd episode ends with all the four chosen civilians and their family members touring around the Kennedy Space Station, a nod to previously launched missions and preparing for their upcoming trip.
The two episodes are rightfully filled with hope and imagination at the potential of civilian space travel. It concludes with Kluger emphasizing the importance of this milestone for society, stating that, “This mission will open a different dimension in who gets to fly. And in that sense, this is one of the most important missions ever flown.”