SpaceX is developing a massive rocket and capsule to transport large numbers of people and cargo to Mars with the ultimate goal of colonizing the planet, company chief and tech billionaire Elon Musk said on Tuesday.
Musk outlined his plans for the Mars rocket, capable of carrying 100 passengers plus cargo per voyage, even as SpaceX is still investigating why a different rocket carrying a $200 million Israeli satellite blew up on a launch pad in Florida earlier this month.
SpaceX intends to fly to Mars about every 26 months when Earth and Mars are favorably aligned. Musk said he would like to launch the first crew as early as 2024, a schedule he said was optimistic.
Musk said there would be no guarantee of survival for anyone signing up with SpaceX for the “incredible adventure” of a trip to Mars.
“The risk of fatality will be high. There’s no way around it. Basically, are you prepared to die, and if that’s OK then you’re a candidate for going,” he said at a presentation at the International Astronautical Congress meeting in Guadalajara. Though Musk said he envisions humans living in a large colony on Mars and possibly terraforming the planet, he added that one key issue will be getting the cost low enough to attract customers. “You can’t create a self-sustaining civilization if the ticket price is $10 billion per person,” he said. “Our goal is to get it roughly equivalent to (the) cost of a median house in the United States, about $200,000.”
“Mars colonists would not have to sign up for a one-way journey since reusing the spaceships keeping the transportation costs low,” Musk said.