Travelling between planets is usually the stuff of science fiction novels and movies and most people who aren’t astronauts, never really think about it. However, Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, thinks a little differently and believes that humans should be able to travel to Mars. Now, Musk has said that SpaceX is much closer to achieving this goal than it ever was, suggesting that human beings might be able to fly into orbit sometime in the next year.
Speaking on Saturday night at the SpaceX launch base in Texas’ Cameron County, Musk talked about the “Starship”, SpaceX’s new vehicle, which he described as the most inspiring thing he had ever seen. While in front of the 200 ton, 160 foot prototype of the space vehicle, which was very quickly created in less than a month, Musk went into some details about all of SpaceX’s endeavours as well as plans.
One of those plans, as revealed, is to have the aircraft hit the 16,000 mph speed, a requisite speed for flying into the earth’s orbit. Musk plans to achieve this within six months with an unmanned Starship.
The company’s plans for space travel also involve making journeys as affordable as possible. This, according to Musk, will be done by making sure that the spacecraft is reusable, something which was deemed impossible as recently as a few years ago. The spacecraft will be launched using the Super Heavy, SpaceX’s huge stainless steel rocket booster, which is designed to make fuel available in the Starship’s fuel tank while en route. Super Heavy will also be reusable as well.
“In almost any motor transport – whether it’s a plane or car, a horse, or bicycle, its reusable. If you could use a car only once, very few people could afford to drive a car. So the critical breakthrough that’s necessary is a rapidly reusable orbital rocket.”
A few years ago, Musk gave a bit of a grim forecast for the future of the earth, as one of the main reasons travelling out of earth would be essential. According to him, the earth would very likely experience some sort of doomsday event and when that happens, being “multi-planetary” would be the only solution. Regardless of how grand this plan is, many critics believe that Musk might be biting much more than he can chew.
The CEO had previously revealed that the project would cost anywhere from $2 billion to $10 billion and even then, critics said the $10 billion figure might be a bit of an understatement. On Saturday, Musk again called critics’ bluff, revealing that he now believes that the cost will be “probably closer to a two or three [billion] than it is to 10.”
Even though Mars is where Musk and SpaceX plan to begin, the eventual goal is to be able to reach other planets. At the end of his speech which lasted for about an hour, Musk said:
“I think we should do our very best to become a multi-planet species and we should do it now.”
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