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Elon Musk shows off new SpaceX rocket engines for Starship. Twitter fans see Daleks.

Elon Musk shared this view of a batch of SpaceX Raptor 2 engines awaiting integration into a Starship rocket at the company's Starbase facility near Boca Chica, Texas on April 26, 2022. Twitter fans saw an eerie resemblance to the Doctor Who villians, the Daleks.
Elon Musk shared this view of a batch of SpaceX Raptor 2 engines awaiting integration into a Starship rocket at the company's Starbase facility near Boca Chica, Texas on April 26, 2022. Twitter fans saw an eerie resemblance to the Doctor Who villians, the Daleks. (Image credit: Elon Musk/SpaceX)

Elon Musk seems pretty proud of his company SpaceX's new rocket engines. 

This week, Musk showed off a batch of the new Raptor 2 engines at the SpaceX's Starbase facility in Texas, where they will be used on the first orbital flight of the company's Starship megarocket later this year. 

"Raptor 2 rocket engines at Starbase, each producing over half a million pounds (230 tons) of force," Musk wrote (opens in new tab) in the Twitter post on Tuesday (April 26). Musk's photo showed what appeared to be over a dozen of the new rocket engines, but his Twitter fans saw something else: evil Daleks from Doctor Who.

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"It was only a matter of time before he started building Daleks," wrote Twitter user Richard Nellis (opens in new tab) as the term "Daleks" began trending after Musk's photo post. 

"Turns out Elon has created Daleks. Elon IS Davros," wrote Simon (opens in new tab), another Twitter user, referring to the creator of the Dalek warriors, who reside inside machines do bear some resemblance to a rocket engine nozzle. 

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Here's a look at Doctor Who's Daleks. Do you think SpaceX's Raptor 2 engines are similar?

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To be clear, Elon Musk has not created a race of evil warriors that cry "Exterminate!" as they take over the world. The Raptor 2 will be the workhorse engine for SpaceX's Starship rockets and their massive Super Heavy boosters. 

Each Super Heavy booster will be powered by 33 Raptor 2 engines while the Starship vehicle will use nine Raptor 2 engines of its own. Like SpaceX's veteran Merlin engines on its Falcon 9 rockets, the Raptor 2 is designed to be reusable, as are the Starship and Super Heavy vehicles. 

SpaceX Raptor V1 (at left) and V2 engines on display at a media event held by CEO Elon Musk at the company's South Texas Launch Site, Starbase, on Feb. 10, 2022. (Image credit: SpaceX)

The Raptor 2 is fueled by liquid methane and liquid oxygen, which is a new fuel for SpaceX. It's Falcon 9 rockets use liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene in their Merlin engines. 

SpaceX has been developing its Raptor engines for several years, with Raptor 2 as the result. It has a more streamlined design over SpaceX's first version of the Raptor, including less complicated tubing and plumbing lines.

"The V1 kind of looks like a Christmas tree spaghetti pile — a lot of 'fibbly' bits. V2 is greatly simplified while also increasing thrust at the same time," Musk said in a Feb. 10 Starship update

It may be SpaceX's work to streamline the Raptor 2 that gave it a more Dalek-like resemblance for Doctor Who fans this week. Still, some fans of the sci-fi show were surprised Musk hadn't targeted a different Who villain to emulate. 

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"I always thought Elon Musk would create Cybermen before he created Daleks," wrote Geekgirlforever.

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @SpacedotcomFacebook and Instagram.

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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter.