Elon Musk, billionaire, scientist and CEO of SpaceX intends to send two crewed crafts to the planet Mars to create a self-sustaining civilization by 2022.
“The launch cost, you may spend 400 million dollars just to launch a specific size satellite, and Musk said ‘you know, we can do it cheaper,’” said Eric Swedin, history of science and technology professor at Weber State University.
One of Musk’s primary shuttles that would fly to Mars is called the Big Falcon Rocket or BFR. BFR is a cargo spacecraft that can carry 100 astronauts. BFR stands 100 meters tall with 31 engines to lift a total of 4,000 pounds into space.
According to SpaceX’s website, their objective for the first mission is to confirm water resources and identify any hazards. They will also be putting in initial power to place power, mining, and life support infrastructure.
“To go to Mars is a two-year mission minimum, and SpaceX hasn’t put people in orbit for a long time,” said Stacey Palen, professor of physics at WSU. “You have to wait while the planets move their orbits around the sun to come back into alignment again.”
The second mission aims to send a cargo of people to live on the first Mars base and build a city of a self-sustaining life for humanity.
David Ferro, dean of the College of Engineering Applied Science and Technology at WSU, said he doubts Mars will be hospitable any time soon.
“The idea that the human race, in order to survive potential catastrophe, could use Mars as a location to extend their existence–we’re still a little ways from there,” said Ferro. “I think, unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to turn Mars into a hospitable place.”
This isn’t the first time that Musk has mentioned his plans to colonize Mars. In 2001 he expressed his interest to go to the red planet. Then in 2016 he predicted one million people will be living on the red planet by 2060.