Elon Musk Suggests SpaceX Plans To Land A Starship On Mars Within 5 Years

Evelyn Arevalo by Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo December 16, 2021

Elon Musk Suggests SpaceX Plans To Land A Starship On Mars Within 5 Years

Featured Image Source: @ErcXspace via Twitter

Mars, the carbon-dioxide-rich planet with red soil and blue sunsets is the far away land SpaceX founder Elon Musk is hell-bent on colonizing. It is over 100 million miles away from Earth... and the only planet in the Solar System solely inhabited by robots. He envisions building ‘Mars Base Alpha’, the first permanent human settlement on the Martian surface. SpaceX describes why Mars is a great candidate for becoming a second home planet for humanity on its website: “At an average distance of 140 million miles, Mars is one of Earth’s closest habitable neighbors. Mars is about half again as far from the Sun as Earth is, so it still has decent sunlight. It is a little cold, but we can warm it up. Its atmosphere is primarily CO2 [carbon dioxide] with some nitrogen and argon and a few other trace elements, which means that we can grow plants on Mars just by compressing the atmosphere,” SpaceX states, “Gravity on Mars is about 38% of that of Earth, so you would be able to lift heavy things and bound around. Furthermore, the day is remarkably close to that of Earth.”

The Starship rocket-ship is actively under development at the Starbase South Texas facility. During a recent interview with TIME magazine, Musk suggested that SpaceX plans to land a Starship on Mars within 5 years. –“I’ll be surprised if we’re not landing on Mars within five years,” he told TIME. Earth and Mars orbits move closer to one another every 26 months, enabling a perfect opportunity to launch spacecraft to the Red Planet when it's orbit is around 35 million miles away. In 2019 Musk said that “It’s possible to make a self-sustaining city on Mars by 2050, if we start in 5 years and take 10 orbital synchronizations.”

Musk is ‘confident’ that the Starship spacecraft will reach orbit by 2023. “I think we can do a loop around the Moon maybe as soon as 2023” and land on the surface within 3 years, he says. SpaceX does have plans to launch the first crewed voyage around the Moon in the year 2023. The 'Dear Moon' mission that will launch entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa with a crew of at least ten passengers on a historic circumlunar trip.

Starship's first orbital flight test attempt is planned for early 2022. The company could conduct at least a dozen launches next year to quickly develop the methane-fueled vehicle. Even though Musk sets all these outrageous goals, he is realistic with his expectations, grounded with the probability of the first orbital Starship test flight ending up in destructive flames –“I wouldn’t say that our odds of getting to orbit the first time are high… I would say optimistically it’s 50%,” he told TIME, “[…] So, excitement guaranteed on launch day!”

“The goal overall has been to make life multi-planetary and enable humanity to become a spacefaring civilization,” he says, not because it would be profitable for him but because it would be ‘exciting to make life multi-planetary.’ He has said on multiple occasions that he is using his wealth to “expand the scope and scale of consciousness” for the benefit of humanity as a whole. Once SpaceX achieves landing multiple uncrewed Starships on Mars, Musk plans to conduct robotic cargo missions before launching the first astronauts to the Red Planet and back. Ultimately, SpaceX’s goal has always been to enable humans to actually live on the Martian surface, Musk even went as far as saying that he envisions launching “animals and creatures of Earth” to Mars once astronauts create a self-sustaining colony “– […] Sort of like a futuristic Noah’s ark,” he said. 



Featured Image Source: @ErcXspace via Twitter

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