Elon Musk’s Next Rocket Will Fly You to Earth

Travel Around Earth on a Rocket

“Anywhere on Earth in under an hour.”

SpaceX’s Elon Musk is never short of ideas.

Would you like travel from Hong Kong to Singapore in 22 minutes? Or London to New York in 29 minutes?

Nearing the end of a speech at the 68th International Aeronautical Congress, Musk touched on an innovative idea. Have you ever thought about using rockets for long-distance travel about Earth?

Why not? Humans have been stuck with 4 methods of travel for pretty much a century (vehicle, aircraft, boat, and rail.) Besides walking.

It’s time to think big.

But could rocket travel really work?

How Rocket Travel Would Work

Musk’s proposal goes like this:

Passengers take a ship (the water kind) from a dock in a city.

They arrive at a floating Launchpad where a rocket and ship (the space kind) awaits. This would be SpaceX’s proposed Very Big Rocket (nicknamed Big F*cking Rocket or BFR).

BFR zaps the spaceship into low-earth orbit. At its apex, the ship separates from the rocket and heads to another city at about 18,000 miles per hour. It lands on a similar ocean-based pad near the city.

SpaceX Rocket Benefits

BFR would be fast. Nowhere in the world would take much longer to reach than an hour. Contrast this with today’s commercial airline flights. A vacation from New York to Australia takes about 23 hours.

Problems with SpaceX

The immediate problem is that neither the new rocket or spaceship actually exist.

Also: price. On SpaceX’s own website, they estimate the cost for a flight by the current Falcon Heavy rocket at $90 million.

Estimates suggest the space ship’s capacity for travel to the Moon and Mars would be between 80 and 200 people per trip.

How would this ever be affordable for the average earth traveler?

Well, Musk suggests it could, and may in time cost about the same as an economy airline ticket.

Rocket Travel Risks and Safety

How would timid travelers cope with space travel? Takeoff and landing are problem areas. Airlines put great effort into reducing calming flying anxieties during takeoff and landing. Musk is proud that the last 16 Falcon 9 rockets landed successfully. SpaceX has become fairly adept at landing rockets both on both land and at sea.

To date, SpaceX has had more successes than failures. However, if we want to see this this technology work, we have to have a near perfect safety record. After all, flying on a plane is extremely safe, but not 100% safe.

Tesla and Musk are keen on safety. Tesla vehicles strive to have 5 stars in every safety category. That doesn’t mean 5 stars overall. That’s 5 stars in every category.

But the exploding rocket to successful rocket ratio is still too high for commercial passengers to jump eagerly on board.

The question also remains: How much demand is there? Supersonic passenger travel came and went in the form of Concorde. After a catastrophic accident, we no longer see commercial supersonic jets. Despite this, there has been talk of building a new Concorde. Up to 2018, the Concorde caused over 100 fatalities. One catastrophic failure and the Musk’s BFR is up in smoke.

The Concorde also failed because fuel costs were too high. Flights were uneconomical. Fuel is always a limiting factor in aviation.

Commercial Travel to Fund Space Exploration

From Space X’s point of view, it makes perfect sense. Commercial travel on a large scale could help fund missions to the moon or Mars. You would have dual uses for the hardware you build. SpaceX plans to launch two cargo ships to Mars by 2022.

Future of Air Travel

Musk plans to begin construction on Big F*cking Rocket in mid-2018. If it succeeds, BFR could make travel to the Moon and Mars possible. SpaceX could also revolutionize travel here on Earth. Just watch the skies.

Want to learn more? Watch our Mammoth Animations video on this topic.

Glauco talks about upcoming Unity AI

We are nearing completion of Mobile Machine Learning and its stretch goal topics. Because we raised enough money to hit stretch goals, backers of every pledge level will get to learn with our game developer Glauco Pires!

Glauco has been working on Unity artificial intelligence (AI) courses. We will soon release to you these and Mobile Machine Learning.

Read below our interview with Glauco Pires

Glauco shares how he found his passion for gaming. He also gives advice for up-and-coming developers who want to make it in the games industry.

Q: What latest exciting projects have you been working on at Mammoth Interactive?

A: I’ve been cooking a couple of AI courses made in Unity. In these courses, you will use Unity on its own to make 3D games with the C# programming language.

Students will learn how how to take their games to the next level. You can take any game no matter how simple and make it instantly more efficient using AI.

Besides, I believe games are the best means of seeing the full potential of AI: the way characters, monsters and spaceships are able to move and behave is just magical (Well, it’s actually a mix of maths and algorithms 😉 we’ll talk about this).

Q: Why do you like working at Mammoth Interactive?

A: It’s always an amazing experience to work with Mammoth. The crew is easygoing, and we all work together to achieve our goals. Being able to reach hundreds of thousands of students and teach them our day-to-day craft is fulfilling. 

Also, even though I grew up using the Internet, it still amazes me that I work 10,000 kilometers away from the headquarters in the Brazilian hot weather 🙂

Q: Share something lighthearted from the past 2 months, related to your work.

A: The good thing about creating courses is the reach you can achieve with the Internet. One of the best things I’ve seen in my entire career was a review from a student, who lives in another country and was really satisfied about the lessons.

He is a father of two kids, and throughout the course, he showed them the results of his learning process. They even had the chance to compare the game he made with the games the kids played at their game consoles.

Being able to make a difference in people of all ages and provide fun, family moments like this is something that makes working with games really worth it.

Q: Why did you enter the game development field?

A: I’ve played games since I was a young child, from 2D platformers in the Sega Genesis to shooters and open-world adventure games in the Xbox One.

In my early teenage years, I got hooked to Counter-Strike (v1.0 back then). I became curious about how game maps were made. It took me dozens of hours just to be able to export a file from the map editor to the actual game, but later I learned how to work with collisions, textures, skyboxes and artificial intelligence (to make bots move).

Years later, I was sure I wanted to work with computer science, and then I thought, Hey, why not make games? Mixing the wishes of the naive kid and young adult versions of me made me dive into the world of game development, and I love it!

Q: What’s a production pitfall you’ve had to overcome recently?

A: Programming is something that I love doing: being able to communicate with a computational device, provide instructions and see the outcome opens your eyes for all the projects you can make and all the problems you can solve.

However, developers have to live with the fact that bugs will always appear, and we need to concentrate efforts into fixing them. I’ve recently spent a good amount of time trying to find what was wrong with a line of code: Is this architecture good, Did I forget to delete an object or Am I supposed to use a pointer? 

Turns out that I forgot to simply open and close parenthesis to call a function! It’s common to forget or confuse the usage of parentheses, curly braces (for scope definition) and semicolons because the more you work with something, the more you’ll expect for it to work. 

Q: What’s a challenge you’ve come across?

A: Building a game API/SDK. Sometimes depending on the software you’re using and the hardware limitations you have, there’s no choice but to build your own codebase to make games.

Working with Unity, Unreal and HTML5 is great because there are tons of assets, plugins and libraries available for you to use, but sometimes all you have is a canvas to draw pixels.

This means that all the functions you are used to work with (drawing images, lines, squares, collisions, AI, etc.) are completely absent from the development environment. Still, if you have experience working with multiple well-established game engines, chances are you have a pretty good idea of how your engine is supposed to look like, containing hierarchy, classes, primitives and more.

Q: What’s your advice for aspiring game developers?

A: Be curious! The game industry changes everyday: operational systems, technologies, game engines… Working with a certain programming language or tool today doesn’t mean you’ll keep using it in the next year.

Next time you play a game, watch an e-sport, or watch a tutorial, ask yourself: How did the developers make this feature, How is it possible for 100 people to play in the same world simultaneously, or How does this look so beautiful?

It doesn’t matter how experienced you are: being curious is going to make you ask questions and work towards finding answers that can be applied everywhere. 

Q: What’s your favorite recent developer project?

A: Making a simple game engine. All the experience I had in pretty much the past decade counts a lot into making this.

Q: What separates successful students in gamedev?

A: A single word: initiative. If you want to make something, find the means to do it! 

We live in an ultra-connected world completely different from ten years ago. You can find tools, courses and material for almost anything.

Q: What do you want to ask readers?

A: One of the things that brings us into the game industry is the wish to make a game just like one we love. Put yourself in the shoes of future-you 10 years from now. Imagine all the games that will have come out over the decade. Simple arcade games filled with colorful, nostalgic pixel art, hyper-realistic virtual reality masterpieces, blockbuster AAA games, you name it. Which of them do you wish you had made? 

Hint: think big. Imagine what would be your favorite. That’s the game you should make right now.

Thanks for supporting Glauco, Mammoth Interactive and Mobile Machine Learning!

from Mobile Machine Learning: The Complete Masterclass

from Mobile Machine Learning: The Complete Masterclass

Variables for Absolute Beginners: Free Python Tutorial

What are Python variables?

Let’s learn all about them! In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use Python variables to code.

Want to code more? Enroll in our Python course – on sale today.

Variables are a way of storing information or data that you may want to keep for later, or for storing information you may not know yet.

For instance: suppose you’re writing code that will ask for user input. At the beginning of the code, you won’t know the user input, so you will store the user input in a variable.

Variables are convenient because they let you save information and use it later. Let’s look at an example of a variable below. Note that we’re using the development environment Spyder (Python 3.5) to test our code.

Suppose you’re writing code and want to store the number 1. You can declare (create) a variable to do so.

To declare a variable, write the variable name in the Editor, followed by an assignment operator, which is represented by an equals sign.

one = 

The preceding code declares a variable with the name one. one will be assigned the value on the other side of the operator. Let’s make the value 1 with the following code.

one = 1

You can use the same format to make variables with the values 2 and 3.

one = 1
two = 2
three = 3

With the preceding code, we created the variable two with the value 2. We also created the variable three with the value 3.

Thus we have 3 different variables that we can call. We can do different things with them, and they do not affect one another.

Printing Variables

To prove that we’ve created the variables successfully, we can use the print function. This function lets you print output to the screen so that you can see it. You can learn more about functions in our Python course. Right now, we’ll use one function so that we can see our variables in action.

Type the word print, which is the keyword for the print function. The development environment will color the word in purple.

one = 1
two = 2
three = 3


In parentheses after the variable name, you put the parameters of the function. In this case, the parameter will be the name of the variable you want to print. Let’s print one first using the following code.

one = 1
two = 2
three = 3


On subsequent lines, use the same format to print two and three.

one = 1
two = 2
three = 3


If you run the code by pressing the Run button, the console on the right side will print the values of the variables that we assigned earlier.

You can reuse variables. For example, the following screenshot shows that you can print the variables backwards.

What happens if you overwrite variables?

You can overwrite a variable (change its value) by assigning it a new value. For instance, the following code changes the value of two to 4.

one = 1
two = 2
three = 3

two = 4

You will see in the console that before you overwrite the variable, the print function will print the variable’s initially assigned value. After the overwriting line, print will print the variable’s new value because you’ve overwritten the data.

You’ve changed the value of the data inside the variable. When you call the print function, your computer looks at the last known value and prints it to you. When you modify the value, the value stored inside the computer gets changed.

Types of Variables

We’ve created variables (one, two, three) of a certain type: integers. They are integers because their values (1, 2, 3, 4) are integers (whole numbers). You can create other types of integers.

For instance, the following code creates a variable that is a decimal. Note that the name of the variable can be whatever you wish, but it is logical to name it something that relates to its value.

one = 

The preceding code declares a variable with the name one. one will be assigned the value on the other side of the operator. Let’s make the value 1 with the following code.

Decimal = 1.1

Another type of variable you can make is a string. Use the following format to create a new variable named StringVar (to stand for string variable.)


Notice that we capitalized the first letter of each word in this variable’s name. Although not required in Python, it is a naming convention and makes code easier to read.

A string is a series of characters. To declare a variable as a string, you can assign it a value in quotation marks. The following code gives StringVar the value "Hello".

StringVar = "Hello"

You can print this variable as well, using the same format for the print function.

StringVar = "Hello"

In Python, you don’t have to tell the computer what type you want a variable to be. Python automatically assigns a variable a type depending on the variable’s value. This differs from some other programming languages. You can simply assign a value, and the computer will store it in memory to be used later.

There are some rules, however. For instance, if you want to add a value to a variable, you can do so with the + operator. However, each variable can only be of one type. Let’s look at an example.

Suppose you want to add “1” to the end of StringVar. If you simply write + 1 to where you declared StringVar, you will get an error message. The console will print the TypeError “Can’t convert ‘int’ object to str implicitly.”

This error occurs because "Hello" is a string, whereas 1 is an integer. If you put quotation marks around 1, although 1 is still a number, the computer will interpret it as a string. You will no longer get an error message.

StringVar = "Hello" + "1"

All the variables we created are called global variables because they are not contained in any function. The variables are contained in the core of the code and aren’t in a subsection. As such, you can access them from anywhere.

An example of a local variable is a variable inside a function. For instance, the following code outlines how to set up a function. We provide more information on functions in our Python course.

def FunctionName(Input):
return Output

You can declare a variable inside the function like so:

def FunctionName():
newVar = "World"

As such, newVar is a local variable. It is local to a function. You cannot access newVar from outside the function. You can call the print function on newVar in the function. The console will print the value of the variable: World.

However, if you try to print newVar outside FunctionName, the code will crash. Because newVar is locally defined, it doesn’t exist outside the function. Your computer will give you the NameError “name ‘newVar’ is not defined”.

def FunctionName():
newVar = "World"


On the flip side, you can use global variables inside functions. For instance, you can call the one variable by simply typing its name in FunctionName. However, to let other developers know or to remind yourself that one is global, you can write the keyword global before the variable name.

def FunctionName():
global one
newVar = "World"

Comment out the line print(newVar) that is outside FunctionName so that we don’t get any errors. To comment out a line, add a hashtag to the beginning. The console will skip over any commented lines.

def FunctionName():
global one
newVar = "World"


Call print on one inside FunctionName. The console will print 1, the value of one that we defined earlier.

def FunctionName():
global one
print one
newVar = "World"

What else can you do with variables? There is another way to define variables that is a shorthand.

An alternate way to declare our variables one, two and three is with the following format:

one, two, three = 1, 2, 3

This code assigns the value 1 to one, 2 to twoand 3 to three.

What else can you do with variables?

You can create a new variable that is the sum of 2 values. For instance, the following code declares a variable five and assigns it the value 3+2. If you print five, the console will print the sum: 5.

five = 3+2

What can you not do?

You can’t use variables that are not yet defined. For instance, the following line would return an error because we have yet to declare a variable six.

five + six = 5

You also cannot declare a variable value-first. For instance, the following code would give the SyntaxError “can’t assign to literal”.

5 = five

This occurs because code to the left of the assignment operator (equals sign) is what you’re giving the value to, and code to the right of the sign is what the value is.

What are counting variables?

You will use counting variables a lot when programming. You can use counting variables to keep track of the number of times a certain event occurs. Let’s look at an example. Create a variable count, and give it the initial value 0.

count = 0

Call print on the count variable. Comment out all the other print lines so that you can clearly see what this example prints in the console. The console will print 0.

count = 0

Let’s make the value of count 1. There are several ways we can do this. One way we’ve already seen: to overwrite the value with the following code.

count = 0
count = 1

Another way is to add a value to the variable with the following code.

count = 0
count = count + 1

The preceding code assigns the value of count to be count’s current value plus 1. With a print function, the console would print 1.

You can increment count‘s value in this way because it will always add onto the latest value. For instance, assign count the value count + 1 again, and print it. The console will print 0 1 2.

count = 0
count = count + 1
count = count + 1

A shorthand notation to add a value to the current value of count is the following. This code will add to and redefine count.

count += 1

Similarly, you can multiply the value of count and reassign its value.

count = count * 3

There is shorthand notation for this, too:

count *= 3

The console will print 3 at this line.

You can divide the value of count and reassign its value.

count = count / 3

There is shorthand notation for this, too:

count /= 3

The shorthand is helpful because as you write more code, you will find that the more ways you can write less, the more efficient you will be as a coder.

Want to code more? Enroll in our Python course – on sale today.

In this course, you will learn how to code in the Python 3.5 programming language. Whether you have or have not coded before, you can learn how to use Python. Python is a popular programming language that is useful to know because of its versatility. Python is easy to understand and can be used for many different environments. Cross-platform apps and 3D environments are often made in Python.

We will cover basic programming concepts for people who have never programmed before. This course will cover key topics in Python and coding in general, including variables, loops, and classes. Moreover, you will learn how to handle input, output, and errors.

To learn how to use Python, you will create a functioning Blackjack game! In this game, you will receive cards, submit bets, and keep track of your score. By the end of this course, you will be able to use the coding knowledge you gained to make your own apps and environments in Python.

What students have said about our courses:

“He explains everything.. great course, great teacher.”

“The instructor tells us why we do things and breaks down everything so you will understand better.”

“Pace is excellent, iterates points without being redundant. Builds on previous knowledge in a very organic way.”

“Great course. Clear voice, good screen material. I liked it.”

“I absolutely love this course. I’m only part way through so far but felt compelled to leave a review. This is such a comprehensive course that was well worth the money I spent and a lot more!. Well done. Will definitely be looking at more Mammoth Interactive courses when I finish this.”

This course is project-based, so you will not be learning a bunch of useless coding practices. At the end of this course, you will have real-world apps to use in your portfolio. We feel that project-based training content is the best way to get from A to B. Taking this course means you learn practical, employable skills immediately.

Learning how to code is a great way to jump in a new career or enhance your current career. Coding is the new math and learning how to code will propel you forward for any situation. Learn it today and get a head start for tomorrow. People who can master technology will rule the future.

Get the course here!

Build 177 Games: The Complete 2D, 3D and VR Bundle

Guess what? You can build 177 games in this course bundle.

We hand-picked our top-selling game development and design courses and put them into one convenient bundle you can enroll in right now:

  • Learn how to make 20 games in GameMaker (24 hours)
  • Learn to make 2D and 3D games in Unity® (45 hours)
  • Learn how to make 6 games in the Unreal Engine (20.5 hours)
  • The Complete Game Developer Course – Build 80 Games in Construct 2 (36.5 hours)
  • Build 30 Mini 3D Virtual Reality Games in Unity® from Scratch (CC) (77 hours)
  • Build and model a 3D Super MARLO runner clone in Unity® (17 hours)

Get it now

See what people are saying about the courses in this bundle:

“Really love how this is beginning. I’m an old-school coder trying to get back in and work on some personal game projects and this doesn’t treat me as dumb, but also doesn’t require a CS degree to understand what’s going on. Really appreciating this.”

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Grab this bundle while this super offer exists! See you there.

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Give the Gift of Hello Coding

If you want to stand out as a gift giver, give 164 hours of learning to someone you know. Your gift will be of Mammoth Interactive’s largest course ever released, plump with hands-on projects from 6 instructors.

Buy Hello Coding to send to someone else for only $49 – include a personal message for FREE!

This online course makes the perfect gift for your friends (or enemies – why not?). You will show your support for their professional development or personal interests. What’s better than the gift of knowledge?

Happy holidays! Click here to start giving.

When you purchase this course, we will create a single-use coupon for free access to our Hello Coding course. You will have the option of sending this coupon to your recipient or letting us send a pre-formatted email to them.

Level 1 of Hello Coding is an introduction to coding and the programming industry. Mammoth Interactive founder John teaches you to market yourself and network in the field, both of which are necessary to successfully work as a coder.

Level 2 introduces you to web development. Our web developer Chris breaks down the fundamentals of coding in the 3 primary coding languages HTMLCSS JavaScript. We show you how to directly apply what you learned to build a landing page and modular website.

Level 3 is mobile app development. App developer Nimish demonstrates how to code in Java, currently the most widely used language to make Android apps. As well, you learn the programming language basics of Swift 4, Apple’s official coding language for iOS app development.

This level is unique because we show you how to make a project both for iOS and Android, which is important these days where the majority of smartphone users have one of these two. You build a finance calculator for the web and a weather app.

Level 4: Game developer Glauco gives you a thorough guide to Unity®, the popular & FREE program used to make games for a range of devices.

Get ready for game design by learning to navigate BlenderPhotoshop and Illustrator. Our artist Kevin teams up with Glauco to take you through coding and designing 3 complete games from scratch: a Flappy Bird clone, Angry Birds and Air Hockey.

Level 5: Learn the diverse web language Python & TensorFlow, the software library for Machine Intelligence, from data scientist Max. Apply data analysis tools to make a stock market prediction app, image recognition model & credit card fraud detection model.

Give the Gift of Hello Coding.