Wednesday, March 18, 2015

SpaceX: No One Laughs Anymore When We Talk About Colonizing Mars

When Elon Musk founded SpaceX, way back in 2002, the plan was to colonize Mars. The company is now profitable, America’s number one choice for flying astronauts to the International Space Station, and thinking about building a satellite-based internet to connect the world. But all of those are stepping stones for the Mars plan, which is very much still the focus of the company.

“We’re not shy about talking about Mars, which would be an extraordinary step for humans, to actually have a settlement there,” SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said Tuesday at the Satellite conference in Washington, DC. “The whole company is geared up on that, everybody’s eye is on the Red Planet.”

Mars One, a long shot, crowdsourced plan to colonize Mars, ​is apparently in shambles, so, even on the non-SpaceX front, there’s not much in the way of a concrete plan to get to Mars. We know that SpaceX is developing a methane-based rocket engine known as Raptor to get to Mars, but beyond that, much of it is speculative. That said, the company is still deadly serious about getting there, eventually.

“When we talked about Mars before, people thought we were certifiable,” Shotwell said. “Now, people kind of groove on it and they like to hear about it.”

Unlike the Mars One mission, Shotwell said that SpaceX has no intention of sending people to Mars to die. That’s one reason (of many) why the company is working on reusable rockets.

“We’re not interested in one way trips,” she said. “In order to take people there and come back, you can’t toss the rocket when you get there and then wait 30 years until you can build another one on Mars.”

“There is a surprising number of people that want to leave Earth, we believe there is a commercial application for any Mars mission,” she added.

Full article: http://motherboard.v … mars?utm_source=mbfb

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