Is there anything this man can’t do?
On the last day of the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk went on stage to explain how SpaceX will help humans explore space.
They’ll do this with their BFR project, which is creating a single booster and ship that can replace the company’s Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon. This means SpaceX will be pouring all of its resources currently split across three crafts into one project.
This will give SpaceX the technology to launch satellites and space telescopes. They’ll also be able to clean up space debris and dock with the International Space Station for the delivery of cargo.
What’s most exciting is that SpaceX will have the potential to create off-world colonies.
A mission to Mars
The current BFR design can fit up to 100 people and significant amounts of equipment, which Musk suggests will be instrumental in creating a base of operations on the moon.
As Musk said during his presentation:
“It’s 2017, I mean, we should have a lunar base by now. What the hell is going on?”
Musk’s ambitions for space colonization go well beyond the moon. It’s well known that SpaceX has the goal of heading to Mars as soon as the technology to do so becomes available.
Musk even shared imagery of what a fully fledged Martian city would look like.
Construction on SpaceX’s first ship that has the capability to go to Mars will begin within the next 9 months and Mus is aiming to be able to send two cargo ships there by 2022, although he did admit this goal is “aspirational”.
Once cargo ships can make it to Mars, two years later Musk will send astronauts to the Red Planet. The idea is that these “settlers” would build a fuel plant that will serve as the beginning of the Martian colony. The next step is to build multiple landing pads, expanding into terraforming and then an urban environment.
Musk’s goals are certainly audacious. Creating a human colony on Mars will be one of the most challenging.