SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently confirmed that he is starting his Mars mission plan. Speaking at the annual Code Conference, the business magnate said he intends to start sending missions to the red planet on Dragon Version 2 in 2018.
However, it will not start sending astronauts just yet.
“The 2018 mission will be a Dragon V2, I wouldn’t recommend traveling to Mars in that,” Elon Musk explained.
“It has the interior volume of an SUV. This will be a very big rocket. And it also doesn’t have the capability of getting back to earth. We’ll put that in fine print.”
Dragon V2: SpaceX next gen space capsulehttps://t.co/4YI7JxIrcL
FINALLY, a ship that LOOKS like the movies! pic.twitter.com/QWPTVkxvBi
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SpaceX plans to start sending missions at least every 26 months, he said.
However, the businessman is hoping to launch a manned mission to Mars in 2024, which is expected to arrive in 2025.
The CEO said that later this year, he is going to present a detailed plan for the missions and the requirements to build a self-sustaining city on Mars. SpaceX will need a huge rocket that has the capability to transport a large number of people and hardware to the said planet.
According to Elon Musk, Falcon Heavy is “the most powerful rocket in the world by a factor of two.” It was intended for missions to the moon or Mars and is set to launch this year from the same launch pad as where NASA launched Apollo 11.
When SpaceX starts its missions in 2018, people will also be able to send “payload to Mars” on Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. The price for sending packages will start at £42 ($62) million, reports claim.
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The first price list came out earlier this year, with prices for two sizes of rockets traveling into two different types of Earth’s orbit. This is the first time a space company has offered the service of sending payloads to another planet.
According to reports, the Falcon 9 rocket will transport up to 8,860 lbs (4,020 kg) for a staggering £42 ($62) million while the Falcon Heavy rocket will carry 29,980 lbs (13,600 kg) to Mars for £62 million ($90 million).
Elon Musk explained that the future will greatly benefit from this project. SpaceX “could provide valuable entry, descent and landing data to Nasa for our journey to Mars, while providing support to American industry,” NASA stated.
Although he plans to build growing cities on the red planet, he said he will not abandon Earth.
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“It’s not being a single planet species and moving planets, it’s about being a multi-planet species and have life extend beyond the solar system and ultimately to other star systems. That’s the future that’s exciting,” Elon Musk explained.
“You need things like that to be glad to wake up in the morning. Life can’t just be about solving problems, they have to be inspiring and make you glad to be alive,” he continued.
During the conference, Elon Musk also explained why it is very important for the company to retrieve the rocket boosters. They have repeatedly done this on both land and in sea. According to him, each piece costs between $30 million and $35 million.
“Think of a pile of cash hurtling through the atmosphere, imagine it was going to burn up and smash into pieces. Wouldn’t you try to save it?”
He also said he has plans of going to Mars himself someday.
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“If you gotta choose a place to die, then Mars is probably not a bad choice,” the SpaceX CEO stated. “It’s not some sort of Martian death wish.”
Elon Musk, who owns and runs Tesla Motors, founded SpaceX in 2002 with the goal of making space travels more affordable.
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]