Elon Musk, CEO and founder of Tesla and SpaceX, has outlined his plans to colonize Mars in the coming decades. Utilizing his upcoming Falcon Heavy rocket, he believes it’s possible to have the first manned launch as soon as 2024.
Talking at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Australia, Musk revealed details of his ambitions to send mankind to the red planet. Building on the speech he delivered to the IAC last year, Musk talked about his company’s upcoming rocket once dubbed the “Interplanetary Transport System” (ITS). This time, however, the ITS was noticeably absent from his talk, and he referred to the rocket at the BFR (Big F*cking Rocket), which was its original codename during early development. The BFR is poised to be SpaceX’s main focus for the immediate future, with Musk planning to launch the first vehicle by 2022. The first manned flight is also currently scheduled for 2024.
Speaking to the IAC, Musk stated that “we want to make our current vehicles redundant” and that the new BFR will replace the Falcon 9 and Dragon rockets current being used. He hopes that the BFR will be able to transport 100 people at a time to the surface of Mars. Utilizing a Shuttle-like vehicle that launches on a reusable booster, Musk believes this will allow him to quickly create a city. The BFR would also be used to launch large amounts of materials and shelters, allowing the planet to be colonized in a modular and efficient manner.
The biggest issue, of course, is the need for funding. The BFR would be the largest rock ever built and would come with a hefty price tag. Musk, however, believes that smaller versions of the rocket could be used to ferry people from city to city worldwide, with the longest of trips only taking 30 minutes. These flights would then generate the revenue needed to create his BFR, and eventually, send people to Mars.
Images: Business Insider, SpaceX