If you thought Elon Musk was going to let Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic hog the headlines regarding private space travel for long, you don’t know him very well. Musk has once again made news by revealing the progress made on his Starship prototype, which he says may be available for test flights by this spring.
Starship was previously known but the much more Muskian moniker of BFR, which stood for “Big Falcon Rocket” or “Big (expletive) Rocket,” depending who you ask. Either way, it’s the centerpiece of SpaceX’s overarching plan to send humans to Mars.
Elon Musk tweeted out the photo of the Starship prototype recently, although in the photo he merely captioned it “Stainless Steel Starship.” Since then, however, Musk has been much more forthcoming about his company’s plans.
Although the ship will use stainless steel, it will also include a “different mixture of alloys & new architecture,” Musk wrote. He added that he would do a complete technical presentation of Starship in March or April “after the test vehicle we’re building in Texas flies.”
Furthermore, Musk has recently said that not only will he send interplanetary travelers to Mars using his company’s technology and ships, but said that he would definitely be among the travelers to go, as well. Musk has gone as far as to say that there is a “good chance” that he will be on Mars when his life comes to an end one day.
If you want to be among the travelers that will go to Mars via SpaceX’s ships one day, it will cost you a pretty penny: about $200,000, to be exact. However, that actually seems like a pretty solid deal for making a farther trip out into space than what has been made by any astronaut to date, when you think about it.
For $100, This Man Turned An Old Wooden Cabin Into A Home
When Richard Aiken bought a cabin in the middle of the Missouri woods for just $100, it seemed like it would be an easy transformation, but it would prove to be an adventure…
He Started With This…
When a self-proclaimed “vegan hillbilly” first laid eyes on this rotten cabin in the woods of Missouri, he saw something in it that no one else did.
He took a chance on the cabin, buying it for a mere $100 and soon enough, he knew exactly what he wanted to do with the wooden structure. 10 years later, and after many hours of blood, sweat, and tears, not even Aiken could believe how this pile of planks would end up looking.
He’s Achieved So Much
For Richard Aiken, rebuilding a cabin was just the next challenge in a long life of accolades and accomplishments.
However, there was one unique side to Aiken that not even his closest loved ones knew about him…
At One With Nature
Richard Aiken has a passion that he hasn’t been able to explore as much as he had hoped to in life – nature.
The mathematician surprised many of his loved ones when he announced that he wanted to live in the woods…
His Family Was Worried
Aiken’s sudden passion for all things natural and desire to move into the wild shook his family to their very core.
Naturally (no pun intended), they didn’t like the idea of him packing up and relocating to the woods…
Into The Wild
One thing is for sure – living in the wild can be full of dangers, especially when you are by yourself.
Nevertheless, the “vegan hillbilly” stayed true to himself, put his foot down and went ahead with his plan…
It made sense that Richard Aiken wanted to venture into the wild and live a humble retirement.
While he wasn’t poor, Richard was cash-strapped. Buying land and building a home in the woods, believe it or not, costs money…
A Friend Helped Him Out
A friend of Richard’s happened to own a plot of land in the woods that he wanted to live in.
Knowing Richard’s financial situation, he happily offered it to him for free. However, he decided to give him $100 for it…
Location Was Key
What Richard loved most about the opportunity was that this mystery cabin was located, literally, in the middle of nowhere.
After putting an ad in the papers, he realized something daunting. “Those that were in really good condition were quite expensive,” he said.
When he first saw his newly acquired “cabin,” Richard was convinced that he had made a big mistake.
“This is the original 1830’s log cabin he started out with,” Richard’s daughter wrote on a blog post.
While the odds seemed stacked against him, Richard was surprisingly positive about the cabin, describing it as “a real find.”
“It was two stories, with a very large ‘pen’ of about 21-22 feet square,” he wrote. Richard committed and got this “mission impossible” renovation underway…
Pile Of Planks
As Richard stepped inside the cabin for the very first time and looked inside, he had no idea just how much dead wood was inside.
There was a huge pile of trash that needed to be removed.
From This…To This!
After 10 years of hard labor, sacrifice, and teamwork, Richard and his family could finally say that the cabin was complete.
What was originally a hollowed out carcass of a cabin was now a cozy, beautiful home that only architects and professional builders could dream of constructing.
Images of the cabin now compared to when Richard first bought it are like night and day.
“I hope I shall never finish working with this log cabin,” he said in an interview. “Never stop the silence.”
Beginning The Restoration
So off Richard went to bring his derelict cabin to full glory. His family eventually got on board and helped him with the project.
In no time at all, the cabin started to look a whole lot better.
Missouri, We Have A Problem
One of Richard’s goals was to build a basement underneath the cabin – a place where he could store essentials such as food and wine.
However, after spending many days digging and excavating, the family soon hit bedrock six feet deep.
In order to ensure that he got the basement that he was so desperate for, Richard thought of a great idea.
He decided to have floor support structures made out of white oak, this would help to support the main framework of the cabin.
The Hidden Lake
Richard’s family discovered something remarkable about the cabin; it was resting on top of a water table.
They learned that a secret lake had been lying there all that time. All of a sudden, Richard had another idea – to build a cute wooden dock.
The fact that Richard and his family spent so much time working on the cabin in the middle of nowhere was a problem in itself.
With time, the family began to show contempt for one another, with a number of individuals getting sick and tired of the project.
Filling In The Gaps
Before he knew it, Richard had a much sturdier, stronger foundation to build his cabin from.
He got his family to fill the gaps with daub-covered chicken wire. Everything the Aikens did during construction was rustic and traditional.
My Kind Of Cabin
Richard wanted to make the cabin look like one of the classic Missouri homes in the wilderness from the 1830s.
Richard claims that he spent between $30,000 to $40,000 in order to have the cabin the way he had originally envisioned.
Using Old Oak
Richard’s used oak from trees that had already fallen and tried to refrain from chopping down trees as much as possible.
It appears that his philosophy could be found in the end results. Take this staircase, for example, which the family built out of a fallen tree.
He Designed His Own Fireplace
One of his proudest moments over that 10-year period was his beloved fireplace, which Richard designed based similar looking hearths from the 19th Century.
“[The Rumford hearth] is a brilliant design widely adopted to optimize heat transfer within a room,” Richard said.
He Even Built A Loft
Another issue that Richard could potentially face in the wilderness was access to light.
Instead of trying to install electricity into his cabin, he decided to go with candle chandeliers instead.
A Gift From The Amish
Richard owes a lot of thanks to the Amish neighbors who helped him work on the cabin from time to time.
They provided the Aikens with a very useful house-warming present – a wooden dining table.
I’m Not Moving In
Richard turned around and told his family that he wasn’t planning on moving into it, at least, not on a permanent basis.
Understanding their concerns, he decided to use it as a place where they could go to for vacations.
Sharing His Story
Richard knew that it would be a shame if no one other than his family and himself reaped the benefits of his home’s transformation.
On his Instagram account, he started to share images of his cabin.
After completing construction, he shared his story with the world, posting images of the transformation on sites such as Reddit and Imgur.
Needless to say, the internet fell in love with the Aikens’ project and many want to follow in Richard’s footsteps.
Whatever The Weather
As you can see, Richard has designed and constructed a cabin that isn’t just suitable to stay in during the summer months.
Richard claims that during the winter period, the Amish family helps him maintain the cabin so that it doesn’t suffer any serious damage.