Elon Musk has fired back at Boeing’s CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, who recently said that he could send a man to Mars before SpaceX could. Muilenburg made the ambitious claims during an interview with CNBC on Thursday, Fortune Tech reports.
“Eventually we’re going to go to Mars and I firmly believe the first person that sets foot on Mars will get there on a Boeing rocket,” he said when he was asked which company would get to The Red Planet first.
But on Twitter, Musk replied to a tweet that reported the story with two words: “Do it.”
Boeing has had its eye on Mars for a while now and Muilenburg said that he believes that Boeing will deliver the first man to the moon first. In fact, according to Teslarati, he made the exact statement almost word for word at the What’s Next conference in Chicago last year
During his recent interview with CNBC, Muilenburg added that Boeing is working on a next-generation rocket with NASA that they’re calling the “Space Launch System.” This is a rocket that’s 36 stories tall and in the final stages of assembly, he said. They plan to do the first test flight in 2019 with a “slingshot” mission around the moon.
Do it— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 7, 2017
Elon Musk has made his own claims about SpaceX’s ability to colonize Mars. As Fortune Tech reports, he presented the company’s most recent plan in September during a talk at the International Astronautical Congress called “Making Life Multiplanetary.” During that presentation, Musk claimed that SpaceX could launch its mission to Mars by 2022.
But as you can see from Elon Musk’s tweet, SpaceX is not likely to just roll over and let Boeing walk all over them. As Teslarati notes, they have been consistently innovating their rocket technology. Some of these innovations have been the capability to self-land rockets after a flight and to conduct a “rapid launch cadence” via the reuse of rockets. These advancements, among others, have enabled SpaceX to continue to snatch government contracts away from legacy aerospace companies like Boeing.
In early 2017, SpaceX won a $96.5 million contract with the U.S. Air Force, trumping Boeing and Lockheed Martin’s joint program, United Launch Alliance.
SpaceX has also made headway in the creation of carbon fiber liquid oxygen tanks that will be used in the company’s “Mars Engine” This is an additional indication that the company is pushing forward on plans to land and build human societies on Mars.