The billionaire founder of SpaceX says he's going to try to start a space colony on Mars in 2024, just seven short years away.
SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk is no stranger to ambitious plans, but his latest one may take the cake. While NASA is planning on landing man on Mars in the 2030s or so, Musk wants to do it a lot sooner – just seven years from now, in fact, a crazy plan that has a lot of skeptics.
Musk said during a speech in Australia last week that he hoped to land humans on Mars in 2024, and start bringing supplies to the Red Planet as soon as 2022. He said he will try to land two cargo ships on the planet in five years to both provide advance supplies and set up power, mining, and life support infrastructure so everything is set up when humans arrive two years later.
Then, two ships carrying humans along with some more cargo ships would head to the planet, and the new colony would begin a rocket fuel production plant, so it wouldn’t be a one way trip. Humans would be free to leave if they so desired. Musk thinks the colony could make the fuel by harvesting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Of course, many doubt that this timeline is possible, as for one thing the rocket that would need to carry them hasn’t been built yet, and there are many obstacles that are likely to come during the development of it. There’s also the political and social obstacles that will crop up with this sort of mission, as well as concerns about planetary protection.
NASA certainly wasn’t ready to sign off on the project in a statement.
“NASA is excited to see continued global interest in moving human exploration farther into the solar system, including Mars,” reads a NASA statement as printed by The Australian. “A sustainable crew presence in deep space will require the best of NASA, our international partners and the private sector. Therefore, the agency is studying the deep space gateway concept with US industry and space station partners for potential future collaborations.”