- Title: Elon Musk outlines Mars colonisation plan in Mexico
- Date: 27th September 2016
- Summary: GUADALAJARA, JALISCO, MEXICO (SEPTEMBER 27, 2016) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF CONVENTION CENTRE HOSTING 67TH INTERNATIONAL ASTRONAUTICAL CONGRESS LOGO FOR CONGRESS CLOSE PEOPLE AT CONGRESS
- Embargoed: 13th October 2016 00:09
- Keywords: Mars colonisation SpaceX Elon Musk rocket space solar system Mexico Guadalajara
- Location: GUADALAJARA, JALISCO, MEXICO
- City: GUADALAJARA, JALISCO, MEXICO
- Country: Mexico
- Topics: Science,Space Exploration
- Reuters ID: LVA00151CFL1J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:SpaceX is developing a massive rocket and capsule to transport large numbers of people and cargo to Mars with the ultimate goal of colonising the planet, company chief and tech billionaire Elon Musk said in Mexico on Tuesday (September 27).
At the International Astronautical Congress meeting in Guadalajara, Musk outlined his plans for the Mars rocket, capable of carrying 100 passengers plus cargo per voyage, even as SpaceX is still investigating why a different rocket carrying a $200 million Israeli satellite blew up on a launch pad in Florida earlier this month.
Though Musk said he envisions humans living in a large colony on Mars, he added that one key issue will be getting the cost down low enough to attract willing volunteers.
"Really the key is making this affordable to almost anyone who wants to go. And we think based on this architecture, this architecture assuming up to this age and over time that the very first flights will be quite expensive. But the architecture allows for a cost to get (to) less than $200,000, maybe as little as $100,000 over time depending on how much mass a person takes," he said.
SpaceX intends to fly to Mars about every 26 months when Earth and Mars are favourably aligned for flight. Musk said he would like to land people on Mars as early as 2024. NASA's first human mission to Mars is expected about a decade later.
NASA is supporting SpaceX's first mission to Mars, which is targeted for launch in 2018. SpaceX wants to send an unmanned capsule, called Red Dragon, to the surface of Mars to test descent, entry and landing systems.
"This system really gives you freedom to go anywhere you want in the greater solar system. So you can actually travel out to the Kuiper Belt, to the Earth Cloud. I wouldn't recommend this for interstellar journeys but this basic system provided we have fuelling states along the way means full access to the entire greater solar system," added Musk.
Musk said it would be a challenge to fund the Mars effort, with rocket development costs alone estimated at $10 billion over the next few years.
"As we show that this is possible, this dream is real, not just a dream it can be something that can be made real I think the support will snowball over time and I should say also that the main reason why I am personally accumulating assets is in order to fund this. So I really don't have any other motivation for personally accumulating assets except to be able to make the biggest contribution I can to making life multi-planetary," said the tech billionaire.
The nearly airless planet is typically around 140 million miles from Earth and landing the first humans there, after a six to nine month journey, is an extremely ambitious goal for anyone.
Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin space venture is also designing a heavy-lift vehicle and capsule called New Armstrong, that will be capable of Mars transport, company President Rob Meyerson said.
In his remarks, Musk said there would be no guarantee of survival for anyone signing up with SpaceX for the "incredible adventure" of a trip to Mars.
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