Elon Musk, the world’s most talked about entrepreneur/inventor (and Mars colonization enthusiast), wants to create a new rocketship dubbed “BFR”. This one isn’t intended for space or interplanetary travel, however, but carrying passengers to any location on Earth in under an hour. A journey from New York to Shanghai would be possible within a time frame of approximately 30 minutes!
This news points towards a great rise of Musk’s “Space Exploration”, an already hugely disruptive venture in the aerospace industry with reusable launches. The plan is to ferry humans not just to distant planets but across this one as well. Starting small is necessary on the path towards large tectonic movements in this industry.
“If we are going to places like Mars, why not Earth?” Musk said Friday at the 68th International Astronautical Congress on Friday in Adelaide, Australia. Behind him, an animation on a big screen was showing scores of people getting on a high-speed ferry in New York, then boarding the BFR. The spaceship then headed for Shanghai.
SpaceX, which has launched 13 rockets so far this year, aims to complete 30 missions for customers in 2019. SpaceX has many commercial satellite operators as customers, and the revenue from those contracts will help fund the development of BFR, which will also help set up a base on the Moon.
The 46 year old entrepreneur officially has a net worth of more than $20bn and has said in the past he’d use his own personal assets to help fund all of his most cherished projects. He detailed his Mars plans in a talk at the IAC in Guadalajara, Mexico, a year ago and later published a paper about it, generating enormous excitement but raising concerns it included few details on financing.
Musk promised his Twitter followers this summer his updated Mars plan would address the lack of payment details — which he called “the most fundamental flaw” in his first take.
The Red Dragon Spacecraft
Previously, Musk had talked about sending an unmanned “Red Dragon” spacecraft to Mars in 2018. The new plan calls for the first BFR to land on Mars in 2022, followed by crewed missions in 2024.
Musk, who’s also CEO of electric-car maker Tesla, founded SpaceX in 2002 with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets. The closely-held space exploration company flies its Falcon 9 rocket for customers that include NASA, commercial satellite operators and the US military. The Hawthorne, California-based company also has plans to launch its own satellite network.
A Falcon 9 launch is around $62m, according to SpaceX’s website – no small amount of money in any calculation. However, SpaceX’s rockets are designed for reuse, with rocket recycling now seen as key to making space travel affordable. The company saw its first launch using a previously flown booster in March to the enthrallment of the entire team behind the project.
Mars Exploration Goals
In regards to Mars exploration, we’ve gone beyond science fiction. In August 2012, when NASA’s Curiosity Rover landed on the red planet, we’ve entered a new stage of space exploration. The robotic vehicle continues to transmit breathtaking, high-resolution photographs of the dune-and butte-filled landscape to the delight of scientists and Curiosity’s 3.8 million Twitter followers.
Human colonization of the Red Planet will take several months, with unknown risks to our physical and mental well-being. Even if space explorers survive the 155 million-mile journey and subsequent first-ever manned landing, they would need to get to work immediately to create a habitable atmosphere and produce the fuel needed to get back. That is, if Mars is generous enough to even provide the sources of possible viable fuels.
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