Elon Musk is most famous for Tesla, the electric car that’s changing the face of automotive technology.
He’s also the most ambitious (some would say crazy) tech billionaire on the planet. If things go his way, however, that might change sooner than you think.
Musk is looking to colonise – or at least get a significant number of humans on – Mars by as early as 2024.
The Plan To Get To Mars
He intends on using Space X – his space exploration company – to make this happen.
In a video released by Space X, you see a rocket (named BFR) and interplanetary spaceship (named BFS). Both of which are much bigger than Space X’s existing Falcon 9. The video was released just one hour before Elon musk took to stage to explain his grand space vision
According to a tweet by Elon Musk, they will reach a total of 122 meters tall. This is almost twice as tall as the 70 meter Falcon 9. The BFR has 28,730,000 pounds of thrust at lift-off. Musk says that the Raptor engine — SpaceX’s next generation rocket engine — has about 500,000 pounds of thrust. This means that the BFR would use approximately 50–60 Raptor engines in its first stage.
Space X intends to take people into orbit and leave them there while the BFR returns to Earth in order to get a fuel tank attached. The BFR will then return to the BFS, which would still be in orbit. This fuel tank would then be used to transport the BFS and its passengers to Mars.
According to the video, the BFS also has solar fins, capable of creating up to 200kW of power, which will be deployed during the trip.
The BFS is capable of travelling at a speed of 99779,328 km per hour.
Once it reaches Mars, it will use supersonic retro propulsion (which is really just a fancy way of saying that it will use lots of little rockets all firing at once) to lower the spacecraft onto the surface of Mars.
Watching Musk speak about his vision to colonise the red planet, there is no doubt at all that his vision will come true. It is worth noting, however, that Mars is only the beginning of Musk’s ambitions. He has previously stated that he wants humanity to be an interplanetary species and has been quotes saying:
“This system [referring to Space X’s BFR / BFS] really gives you freedom to go anywhere you want in the greater solar system.”
The question that needs to be asked though, is do we really want to colonise Mars?