The SpaceX founder says we can get to Mars in just seven years, and he's hard at work trying to make that rather ambitious dream a reality.
Has Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk finally lost his mind? At a recent speech in Australia, he’s proposed to land humans on Mars as soon as 2024, way earlier than even the ambitious timeline of NASA and prompting all sorts of baffled responses from those in the scientific world.
Musk said he hoped to get the first cargo flights to the Red Planet by 2022, and then get humans to build a colony there just a couple of years later. The plan would be to land two cargo ships on Mars first to set up some power and life support infrastructure, as well as the ability to mine for precious resources, in advance of the arrival of humans.
Two ships would then transport humans to the planet in 2024 along with some more cargo vessels, leading to the setup of a rocket fuel production planet. Rocket fuel would enable humans to leave the planet and make return trips. They’d do this by harvesting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere of Mars.
Of course, the notion that we could start building a colony on Mars in just five years has been scoffed at by some, especially since the rocket needed to launch them has been built yet, and then there are the many obstacles that would come up during testing. Add to that political and social obstacles, and seven years to put humans on the Red Planet seems awfully ambitious.
NASA praised Musk for his ambition but didn’t seem to exactly sign off on the project.
“NASA is excited to see continued global interest in moving human exploration farther into the solar system, including Mars,” reads a NASA statement as printed by The Australian. “A sustainable crew presence in deep space will require the best of NASA, our international partners and the private sector. Therefore, the agency is studying the deep space gateway concept with US industry and space station partners for potential future collaborations.”