Illustration for article titled Spaceships: Are They Automobiles?
Photo: NASA

Conventional automobile internal combustion engines are complicated and crude pieces of machinery. The internal combustion-ing is one small part of a series of events turning discrete, small explosions into linear, and then rotational motion. All while acting as an inefficient air pump to continue drawing the oxidizer into the combustion chamber. They are turds polished over decades of development and billions of miles of refinement. They should be called “internal combustion and pressure to mechanical rotational power machines,” or something.

Rocket engines? Way simpler. Way more complicated, actually, but fundamentally simpler in the way it turns the internal combustion into motion.


When somebody says automobile, they are usually talking about those four-wheeled things with internal combustion engines. But what about spaceships? Well, as we have already clearly established, you do not need wheels to be an automobile. Sailboats? Automobiles. Airplanes? Automobiles. You don’t need wheels, you just need to be mobile automatically. Plenty of ways to do that if you have enough power.

What about other space ship propulsion, like ion thrusters, or solar sails? You don’t need the fuel source on board to be an automobile. Cars don’t have their entire fuel source onboard, they get oxygen from the air to move. The point is that there are people in it, and it is moving automatically.

Group discussion: Is this an automobile?

Illustration for article titled Spaceships: Are They Automobiles?
Photo: SpaceX

Some would say that since a spaceship is an automobile, and a car is an automobile, then this would be a doubleautomobile. I disagree; I believe it is less of an automobile than it was before launch. The electric powertrain on the Roadster doesn’t help it to be mobile while floating around in space. This would be like if you put wheels and an engine on a boat, drilling giant holes in the hull to get the axles through. You didn’t make anything more mobile, you just ruined a boat to make a shitty car. Still technically an automobile, just not a good one.

Spaceships are arguably the most auto of mobiles. They go to fucking space. That is more mobile than anything. And they do it with a mega shitload of auto. Just tons of flaming explosive thrust automatically mobiling them into space.


Spaceships are automobiles.

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