Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX has unveiled his ambitious vision for establishing a human colony on Mars at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Tuesday.
“What I really want to try to achieve here is to make Mars seem possible – like it’s something we can achieve in our lifetimes,” Musk told an audience in his keynote speech aptly titled “Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species.”
Journey to Mars
The first journey to Mars could begin in 2022, which is three years sooner than his previous estimates. His colonization plan requires an entirely reusable transportation system that would take 80 days and eventually as little as 30 days to carry 100 people to the Red Planet.
The transport seems to take a human to Mars consists of a spaceship, which is refueled with oxygen and methane in Earth orbit as well as on Mars after landing.
Mr. Elon Musk also suggested that the entire transportation system should be reusable in order to attain the $200,000 price.
He plans to make test flights of its prototype spaceship in four years, initially not into the orbit, but into space.
The Heart of Gold
Inspired by Douglas Adams’ science fiction novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Elon Musk would like to name the first ship to go to the Mars The Heart of Gold. Interestingly, it will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre pad 39, same site from where the Apollo Moon missions flew.
Why does he want to go Mars?
“Without someone with a real ideological commitment, it didn’t seem we were on any trajectory to become a spacefaring civilization,” he said.
A prototype booster
SpaceX has already built a prototype booster fuel tank. The Interplanetary Transportation System (ITS) is the combination of the spaceship and the booster. Together, they stand 122 meters tall, which is taller than an Apollo-era Moon programme Saturn V rocket.
The booster will be consists of 42 raptor engines. They will be arranged in concentric circles, 24 engines in the outer circle, 14 in the inner circle and 7 in the center.
Mr. Musk said the future ITS will be a way bigger to house bigger spaceships with up to 200 people.
The development of ITS will be funded by the profit of SpaceX, Elon Musk’s own wealth. “The reason I am personally accruing assets is to fund this. I really have no other purpose than to make life interplanetary,” he said.
He plans to send spaceships every two years when Mars is closest to Earth, and in 2018, the two worlds will be 57.6 million kilometers apart.You may find it crazy to pay $200,000 ticket price to go to Mars, but it could eventually come down to $100,000 to $140,000. Musk also assured that if anyone wanted to come back on Earth, they could take the returning spaceship for free.
A few days ago, Mr. Musk tweeted that his company had carried out its first test of the Raptor rocket engine. That was a hint of his determination to take people on Mars.