August 2, 2011

SpaceX Founder Wants Man To Colonize Mars

SpaceX founder Elon Musk said during a conference on Tuesday that he wants to see man living as a multi-planet species.

"Ultimately, the thing that is super important in the grand scale of history is"”are we on a path to becoming a multi-planet species or not? If we're not, that's not a very bright future. We'll just be hanging out on Earth until some eventual calamity claims us," Musk said according to a PC Magazine report.

The billionaire founder of PayPal told the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics that the challenge to getting to Mars is transporting a significant amount of cargo and people.  He said it was a task that will require a fully reusable rocket.

"There's a reason no one has invented a fully reusable rocket before," Musk said as reported by Fox News. "It's super-damn hard."

He described several of the recent advances SpaceX has made with its Falcon 9 rockets.  The rocket is designed to generate 3.8 million pounds of thrust, enabling it to carry satellites, cargo, and humans to other planets.

"It's got potential as a generalized science delivery platform for other planets in the solar system," Musk said during the event.

He said he believes there will be a single vehicle for transporting humans to Mars and back.

The Falcon Heavy rocket is the world's largest rocket and will have an inaugural flight in late 2012.

Musk said cost plays a big role in the ability to establish a colony on Mars.  The cost per pound for the Falcon Heavy is about $1,000, but in order to achieve colonies on Mars he said it would need to be well under $100. 

Musk said he expects the effort to be a combination of private and government funding, although he said it is hard to predict what percentage would come from the government.


Image Caption: An approximate true-color image, taken by Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, shows the view of Victoria Crater from Cape Verde. It was captured over a three-week period, from October 16 "“ November 6, 2006. Credit: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Cornell University


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