SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk, outlined his vision to colonize Mars, the red planet, at the International Astronautical Congress. It’s a meeting of different space exploration associations, held in Guadalajara, Mexico. He said that the manned mission to Mars could begin as soon as 2022.
“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,” told Elon Musk to the audience at IAC.
Musk’s plan is to bring down the price to around $200,000 per person. He claimed that using today’s technology to go to Mars would cost $10 billion.
He said, “there are two fundamental paths- One is that we stay on Earth forever and then there will be an inevitable extinction event OR we can become a spacefaring civilization, and a multi-planetary species.”
Musk laid out a multi-stage launch and transport system, including a reusable booster which SpaceX has already successfully tested. The booster, and the “interplanetary module” would be nearly the size of two Boeing 747 aircraft which could initially carry up to 100 passengers. Below is a video depicting an artificial rendering of SpaceX’s “Interplanetary Transport System”.
Musk also revealed a system by which fuel could be synthesized on Mars from water and carbon dioxide so that people could return to earth. He also said that it could take 40 to 100 years to properly run a sustainable colony up on the Mars.
NASA, on the other hand, welcomed Musk’s plan and said, “NASA applauds all those who want to take the next giant leap – and advance the journey to Mars. We are very pleased that the global community is working to meet the challenges of a sustainable human presence on Mars. This journey will require the best and the brightest minds from government and industry, and the fact that Mars is a major topic of discussion is very encouraging.”