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Here’s How SpaceX Plans to Colonize Mars

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Here’s How SpaceX Plans to Colonize Mars
On September 27, 2016, during the International Astronautical Congress conference in Mexico, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk presented his company’s Mars colonization project.

In his presentation, Musk emphasized his vision of humans being a “space faring and multi-planetary species.”

To launch that vision, Musk is pushing forward with current plans to colonize Mars. While it’s not another Earth, Musk and many scientists believe that successfully seeding humans on Mars in a base is possible.

Musk discussed how Mars has an atmosphere where plants could be grown. With a 24-hour day, the Red Planet is suited to become a self-sustaining planet. While he admitted that Mars is “a little cold.” He also said it could be warmed up since it has a thick atmosphere and liquid oceans.

How Musk Plans to Get Us to Mars

Prior to the launch of colonists to Mars, all of the necessary equipment and tools for survival will be delivered to the Red planet. This includes the capability to make new fuel for the ITS return trip to Earth. Once back on Earth, the next group of colonists will be prepared to join those already on Mars.

Musk unveiled a video of SpaceX’s Interplanetary Transport System. The ship, designed to carry 100 people, is massive in size.

The mechanics of the design allow the ITS to launch into a parking orbit via a booster rocket, that returns to the launch pad within 20 minutes to be refueled and loaded with necessary supplies for the now orbiting ship and crew (colonists).

The booster will make several trips between the orbiting ship and Earth. Musk speculated that the propellant tanker booster will take around three to five trips up to the ship in order to fill it with enough fuel to get to Mars.

He speculated that the number of colonists could expand from 100 to 200. Along with technological advances and other factors, the cost for passengers wishing to colonize Mars would be around the median home cost of $200,000 and potentially lower.

Once fueled and stocked, the ship will depart its Earth orbit for Mars and then deploy solar arrays to generate 200kW of power. The ship will sail towards Mars in an interplanetary coast at 62,634 mph.

When the first colonists arrive on Mars, they will find all of the equipment and supplies needed to establish the first outpost. With a gravity that’s only 37% that of Earth, Musk said the people will be able to lift heavy objects and equipment in order to build the outpost.

Earth Port to Mars

Musk described his vision of eventually having 1,000 space ships in orbit of Earth waiting to be fueled for their departure to Mars. Realistically, he explained that the lifespan of those ships with frequent use every two years is around 12 to 15 flights per ship.

With a window of every two years for launches to Mars, Musk envisions that within 40-100 years if all goes well, the colonization of Mars could go beyond just an outpost. He told the audience that he believes Mars could become “a self-sustaining city” and would be “a planet within its own right.”

With the ability to manufacture propellant for spaceships, Mars would play an essential role in human space faring and enable multi-planet colonization, ensuring the human race’s future. Musk described how Dragon 2 would further open up space exploration and colonization as a propulsive lander that will be able to land anywhere.

Commerce may get us to the Red planet faster than anticipated. Daily Mail reported in October 2016, that Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg vowed to get to Mars first. Stating it would be a Boeing rocket that landed the first person on Mars not the SpaceX ITS (2).

It appears the race to Mars is on and it will be interesting to see who gets there first and how the colonization of Mars unfolds.

References & Image Credits:
(1) YouTube
(2) Daily Mail

Originally published on


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