Mars could be a popular destination by 2025 if Elon Musk succeeds in launching his largest space transport system ever.
It is a plan too good to be true but Musk disclosed to an audience in Mexico about his long term vision of ferrying people to Mars on board a space vehicle he is planning to build.
The announcement came during a forum with the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) held in Guadalajara Mexico. Musk was optimistic when he told the crowd about his plan to start ferrying tourists through his Interplanetary Transport System (ITS) sometime in 2025.
A Martian trip, he said would last for almost three months. Starting off with a booster rocket that will propel the space vehicle loaded with passengers out into space. Once the vehicle surpasses the earth’s orbit, the booster rocket will disengage, head back to earth, and then return to space with a propellant tanker in tow. As it nears the space vehicle, it latches onto it, fills it up with fuel, and journeys back to earth once again.
Meanwhile, the space vehicle filled with fuel journeys to Martian country with the help of a solar array.
To get on this vehicle enroute to Mars, a traveler has to cough up US$500,000.00 initially. However, Musk implied that in time he could bring prices down to US$100,000.00.
The ITS is envisioned to reach beyond 120 meters in height with boosters run by more than 40 powerful combustion engines. The project’s overall cost could reach a hefty US$10 billion and according to Musk, funding may come from public and private entities through a partnership agreement.
In view of the huge funding requirement, it appears almost impossible to move the project past its planning stage. However, Musk assured that this endeavor isn’t just a thought. In fact, his company, SpaceX, has finished building a huge model of a fuel tank as well as an engine for the booster rocket. A few days ago, experts have test-fired the engine.
Following SpaceX’s timetable, an unmanned Dragon capsule will be launched into space two years from now. This will be followed by ITS test flights after two years or so.
While this confirms Musk’s commitment to see the project through, critics say it could take a hundred years or so for it to fully materialize, adding that he must deal with the one major issue – cost.
Despite this, Musk envisions thousands of space vehicles coming in and out of Mars with vast human colonies being built on the planet. This vision would be at the very far end of the project for initially, he foresees people taking Martian trips only once every two years.
Musk may appear overly ambitious but the SpaceX and Tesla founder believes everything starts with a dream.
This civilization has gone off to travel into outer space because men in history has dreamt of it and stuck with it. Elon Musk could be doing the same thing – dreaming of an interplanetary life for humans and sticking to it.