Great comic strip, in which Dilbert is forced to compete with Elon Musk
DILBERT ©2014 Scott Adams. Used By permission of UNIVERSAL UCLICK. All rights reserved.
I came across this Dilbert cartoon and think it is hilarious. Elon Musk mentioned in several interviews “Ironically the one thing that can’t be made electric is a rocket, because of Newtons third law” You can make cars and even planes electric. A car can push away the road under the tires, by rotating the axel with an electric motor. A plane can push away air by a propeller driven by an electric motor. A rocket that is in outside or atmosphere has nothing that can be pushed away with an electric motor, there is nothing out there. A rocket needs to take with it it’s own reaction mass and push it away in a very efficient way to even reach low earth orbit. The reaction mass is the propellant of the rocket. The chemical energy that is released by burning the propellant is used to propel it backward through the engine nozzle, which makes the rocket move forward. There isn’t an easy way to do this electric as you need to propel your reaction mass backward with great force to even lift your rocket from the ground. With current technology only 2% of the total mass of a rocket at launch reaches low earth orbit.
Apparently Dilbert knows this and also knows this knowledge will be lost on his boss. Instead he makes the genius move to divert his bass to an other problem and that’s the power supply. You need an awesome amount of power to lift your rocket. Even for cars it’s hard to take with them enough power in a battery to have a decant range. It was a real big challenge for Elon Musk to build the Tesla Roadster and model S and give them enough range on one charge of the onboard battery. So for an electric rocket you defiantly would need that power cable!