Short Bytes: On Tuesday, Elon Musk, SpaceX founder and CEO, spilled the beans on his Mars colonization plan. Musk talked about making humans an interplanetary species with the help of new technologies like reusable rockers, ultra-powered engines, carbon fiber fuel tanks etc. His plan is all about going to Mars with lots of passengers, coming back to Earth, pick more humans, and gradually build a civilization.
Going interplanetary with “Interplanetary Transport System”
In a SpaceX video that was published just before the event, the company revealed its ‘Interplanetary Transport System.‘ It showed off SpaceX’s new rocket called Big Fucking Rocket aka BFR. They look a lot bigger than SpaceX’s Flacon 9 rocket. Here are some technical details about the rocket — 26,730,000 pounds of thrust at liftoff, 17m spaceship diameter, 12m rocket booster diameter, 122m stack height. The video shows that the spaceship will be parked in the orbit and BFR will return to the launchpad.
12m rocket booster diameter, 17m spaceship diameter, 122 m stack height
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 27, 2016
Warming up Mars for making it habitable
For making Mars habitable, Elon Musk casually talked about warming the planet up. It would cause its ice to melt, which will release water vapor and create an atmosphere. It’ll make the temperature more bearable and protect humans from radiations. This is something Elon Musk has already talked about in the past.
A Mars trip should cost same as buying a house
In future, a Mars trip will cost the same as buying a house. Sharing his vision, Musk said that it should be equal to the median cost of a home in the US, i.e., around $200,000. Looking at the current scenario, it could cost something closer to $10 billion per person. Musk expects that transporting 100-200 people at once will reduce the cost of the trip. As more number of trips are taking and technology advances, the cost-per-person will drop significantly.
Only reason Musk wants to make money is to conquer Mars
Apart from being a visionary, Elon Musk is a good businessman. He knows how to make tons of money by investing his money into the different endeavors. At the event, he said that only reason he’s accumulating wealth is to help his dream of making Mars habitable a reality.
Self-sustaining civilization in 40-100 years
Reaching Mars and developing a self-sustained civilization isn’t something that’ll happen in near future. Musk knows this. He thinks that it would take 40-100 years for humans to reach Mars and building their homes. Musk shared that it would also take a while to build about 1,000 ships to take lots of people to Mars.
Musk’s spaceship could send 100 people to Mars in 80 days
Musk plans to reduce the time of flight to as little as 80-150 days, depending upon the year and advancement in technology. The vehicle used will be reusable. To reduce the cost, the spaceship will refuel in the orbit.
After the ship will launch out of Pad 39A, the booster and spaceship will separate. While the booster will come back to the Earth in about 20 minutes, the spaceship will head to orbit. From Earth, the booster will carry a propellant tanker to the spaceship and refuel it. In about 3-5 times, the spaceship tanks will be filled.
Goal is 100 people on each trip, eventually more https://t.co/kCtBLPbSg8 pic.twitter.com/wbXJ6AeWyl
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 27, 2016
First humans on Mars must be ‘prepared to die’
Let’s face it — traveling to Mars for the first time is an unpredictable adventure. Elon Musk supports this notion and calls the first journeys to Mars very dangerous.
Elon Musk’s biggest fear
At the event, Musk also talked about his biggest fear. He said that if something goes wrong, he’d need to make sure that there’s some backup plan. “Investors taking over the company would be my biggest fear,” he added.
He wants to collect fuel on Mars for return flight
Musk wishes SpaceX to bring back the people in the same rocket that’ll be used to send them to Mars. To accomplish it, Musk talked about creating fuel when SpaceX get there. SpaceX would use Methane–deep cryo-methalox–as it can be easily created on Mars using subsurface ice and carbon dioxide. The company plans to develop a propellant farm on Mars that’ll be used to create fuel and complete the return journey.
“I won’t go into detail here, but people can think about it offline,” Musk added.
Making a transit system for touring complete Solar System
During the presentation, SpaceX founder explained why he decided to rename Mars Colonial Transporter to Interplanetary Transport System. He wishes the spaceship to go much beyond that Mars and explore the outer boundaries of our Solar System.
Musk said that using a rocket, spaceship, fueling tanker, and propelling depots, one can go anywhere in the Solar System by “planet hopping or moon hopping”. He showed the slides of his proposed spaceship, featuring Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, and icy moons Enceladus and Europa.
Name of the first spaceship that goes to Mars
The first SpaceX spaceship that’ll take humans to Mars will be named, probably, ‘Heart of Gold’, after the spaceship in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. “I like that it’s driven by infinite improbability because our ship is also infinitely improbable,” he added.
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