Billionaire entrepreneur and SpaceX owner Elon Musk has today announced his ambitious plans to put humans on Mars by 2024.
The plans call for two cargo craft to be dispatched to the Red Planet by 2022. These ships would ferry power units, mining rigs, and life support systems to be used by Mars pioneers arriving later in manned flights.
Musk’s visionary plan involves the development and construction of a brand new rocket, dubbed the BFR. Officially, BFR stands for Big Falcon Rocket, though SpaceX staff knows it by a more colourful name.
The BFR craft would carry one hundred passengers accomodated across 40 private cabins all the way to Mars. Ideally, the BFR would be a reusable craft, to reduce costs.
Thus Musk spoke at the International Astronautical Congress in Australia, though his words, while brave and inspirational, must perhaps be taken with a certain degree of skepticism.
SpaceX’s track record is peppered with both great successes and well publicized failures, and Musk himself is known for issuing ambitious deadlines that have come and gone without delivering on their intentions.
Nevertheless, the race to the Red Planet is well and truly underway.
Speaking at the same event was a representative from Lockheed Martin, who said that the company is working on a ‘Mars Base Camp’, a sort of mini space colony being developed for NASA. The components for the camp may be developed in the new Deep Space Gateway, the brand new spaceport intended to be put into the Moon’s orbit in the near future.