The billionaire founder of SpaceX has unveiled plans for a mission that is totally out of this world.
Elon Musk is about to embark on one of the biggest projects in humanity’s history: a mission to Mars. SpaceX is in the process of developing a huge rocket and capsule that would be able to transport large numbers of both people and cargo to the Red Planet in the hopes of colonizing the planet.
Musk, who made the comments on Tuesday, said the rocket would be able to carry 100 passengers and cargo — way more than any sort of probing effort that NASA has planned in the coming decades. And it all comes at a time when the company is seeking answers to why a Falcon 9 rocket blew up on the launch pad earlier this month.
Musk has a pretty ambitious plan. SpaceX will try to fly to Mars every 26 months, starting as early as 2024 — a mere eight years away. Of course, it will require a hardy bunch: there’s no guarantee of survival for anyone who signs up for what he termed an “incredible adventure.” Basically, people will need to be prepared to die.
Musk hopes that one day humans will have a large colony on Mars and perhaps even terraform the planet. Getting the cost down will be a big challenge, and Musk has the rather astonishing goal to reduce the price from $10 billion per person to just $200,000.
And it wouldn’t need to be a one-way journey. The idea would be to reuse spaceships to keep transportation costs low, so they would be making return trips to Earth. That also would hopefully make the prospect of going to Mars a bit greater — even if it remains incredibly dangerous.