SpaceX founder Elon Musk is investing his time and wealth into making life multiplanetary. His aerospace company runs around-the-clock operations to develop the Starship spacecraft that could enable humans to extend life beyond Earth. SpaceX is a leader in aerospace innovation, it became the first private company to return human spaceflight capabilities to America and is actively developing technology that will decrease the cost of spaceflight long-term. NASA believes in SpaceX’s engineering talent, the agency awarded SpaceX a contract to return astronauts to the moon aboard a lunar-optimized Starship. SpaceX aims to enable a frequent human presence on the lunar surface, ultimately, Musk sees the moon as a stepping stone –his sight is set on colonizing the Red Planet.
Musk says SpaceX is developing Starship to help “preserve the light of consciousness” in case some kind of disaster were to threaten all life on Earth. Starship could enable hundreds of humans to embark on long-duration voyages to explore the Milky Way. “Becoming multiplanetary is one of the greatest filters. Only now, 4.5 billion years after Earth formed, is it possible. How long this window to reach Mars remains open is uncertain. Perhaps a long time, perhaps not. In case it is the latter, we should act now,” Musk said on Saturday.
Becoming multiplanetary is one of the greatest filters. Only now, 4.5 billion years after Earth formed, is it possible.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 22, 2021
How long this window to reach Mars remains open is uncertain. Perhaps a long time, perhaps not.
In case it is the latter, we should act now.
SpaceX is developing the Starship launch vehicle at its Starbase South Texas facility that will one day become the ‘Gateway to Mars.’ Engineers aim to develop a Starship capable of transporting tons of cargo and 100 passengers. Musk has said on several occasions that it is essential to increase the rate of innovation to reach Mars in our lifetime and predicts an uncrewed Starship could land on Mars' surface by the year 2024 if SpaceX's rate of innovation ‘grows exponentially.’ The next launch opportunity would be 2026 because Mars orbits closer to Earth approximately every two years. The company appears to be on track to meet that ambitious timeline as it builds multiple stainless-steel prototypes of the launch vehicle simultaneously, and is preparing for its next high-altitude flight test above Boca Chica Beach. SpaceX targets to launch a Starship test vehicle to orbit this summer.
Once SpaceX develops the spacecraft that will enable a spacefaring civilization, humanity will have to work to survive on another planet. “Getting to Mars, I think, is not the fundamental issue,” Musk said in April during a discussion with XPrize, “The fundamental issue is building a base, building a city on Mars that is self-sustaining. […] We're going to build a propellant plant, an initial Mars base - Mars Base Alpha - and then get it to the point where it's self-sustaining.” During the 2020 Mars Society Convention Musk said that adventurous volunteers could be part of the first Martian settlement. “We need a lot of people fired up to go to Mars. It’s going to be kind of risky, but kind of a cool, fun adventure. I want to emphasize that this is a very hard and dangerous, difficult thing, not for the faint of heart,” he said. “Good chance you'll die, it's going to be tough going, but it will be pretty glorious if it works out.” Author's note: Thanks for supporting TESMANIAN! Twitter: Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.