Space

Musk wants to land a manned mission on Mars by 2025

Musk wants to land a manned mi...
Artist's concept of a SpaceX Dragon on Mars
Artist's concept of a SpaceX Dragon on Mars
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Artist's concept of a SpaceX Dragon approaching Mars
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Artist's concept of a SpaceX Dragon approaching Mars
Artist's concept of a SpaceX Dragon entering the Martian atmosphere
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Artist's concept of a SpaceX Dragon entering the Martian atmosphere
Artist's concept of a SpaceX Dragon orbiting Mars
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Artist's concept of a SpaceX Dragon orbiting Mars
Artist's concept of a SpaceX Dragon on Mars
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Artist's concept of a SpaceX Dragon on Mars
Artist's concept of a SpaceX Dragon touching down on Mars
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Artist's concept of a SpaceX Dragon touching down on Mars

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has never made a secret that he wants to go to Mars, and soon. Plans for an unmanned landing in 2018 using a Red Dragon capsule were announced earlier this year, and now in an interview with the Washington Post the tech entrepreneur has given a broad outline of a proposal that could see a manned mission touching down on the Red Planet in 2025.

The proposed 2018 landing would be the start of an intense program of sending ships to Mars every two years as Earth and Mars come into opposition. This is the time that the planets are at their closest and the least fuel is required to reach Mars.

These missions would be used to gain experience in interplanetary navigation and how to safely landing ships on Mars and would carry experiments and rovers – not all of which might be built by SpaceX. Each of these would launch from Earth using the 27-engine Falcon Heavy carrying the Red Dragon capsule. This would be designed to slow down using the Martian atmosphere for braking and the capsule's Superdraco rockets for final descent.

Artist's concept of a SpaceX Dragon orbiting Mars
Artist's concept of a SpaceX Dragon orbiting Mars

The landings would culminate in a manned mission touching down in 2025. This would use SpaceX's planned Mars Colonial Transporter, which is scheduled to first fly in 2022 and is designed to not only carry explorers, but, as it says on the tin, colonists.

"Essentially what we're saying is we're establishing a cargo route to Mars," Musk told The Post. "It's a regular cargo route. You can count on it. It's going to happen every 26 months. Like a train leaving the station. And if scientists around the world know that they can count on that, and it's going to be inexpensive, relatively speaking compared to anything in the past, then they will plan accordingly and come up with a lot of great experiments."

Artist's concept of a SpaceX Dragon touching down on Mars
Artist's concept of a SpaceX Dragon touching down on Mars

Not surprising for the man who won the Heinlein Prize in 2011, Musk plans for the landing to be privately funded, with NASA providing technical support in exchange for data acquired by the venture. He also admits that there's a large element of risk for the first pathfinders to Mars.

"It's dangerous and probably people will die — and they'll know that," says Musk. "And then they'll pave the way, and ultimately it will be very safe to go to Mars, and it will very comfortable. But that will be many years in the future."

Source: Washington Post

9 comments
Kaiser Derden
I'm sure he'll manage it ... after all it only took him 2 years to land an unmanned rocket on earth in perfect conditions ...
RichardU
Dreaming.
habakak
Nope. Not going to happen. How will SpaceX fund this? We just don't have the energy required to talk about 'colonizing' Mars. Maybe once we figure out nuclear fusion (and we can do it affordably). But until such time, dream on. Can we send private unmanned craft there in the next 10 years. Possibly, but unlikely (due to cost). Now, if he can take something useful there for a paying client, then it becomes a lot more feasible. Manned missions however will result in certain death.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Someone like Musk sholud be building an accelerator-based fusion rocket. Magnets could be launched one at a time. Needs no expensive vacuum chamber.
Lbrewer42
Thankfully after the Benghazi Butcher tried to kill our space tech lead and have us depend on the Soviets instead of using our own, proven Space Shuttles, good old "Yankee Ingenuity" has stepped up to the plate again. Is the 2025 date possible? Just how long has the government bureaucratically-blocked NASA been trying to make a reusable, landing (rather than splashdown) rocket, and this guy does it in two years? Only high-level, covertly authorized "accidents" will keep this goal from being reached.
RichardU
When Mars is at its closest to the Earth for fuel efficiency, it'll take approximately six months to get there, then they have to wait 18 months for the next opportunity to return. The entire mission will be approximately 2.5 years. We do not have the technology to protect the astronauts from radiation for the period of time, fuel, food, life support, they will need existing habitation already on Mars to support them. We simply can't do it at this time. The biggest hurdles are radiation protection and fuel. Neither exist at this time to be feasable. 2025, not going to happen.
Derek Howe
RichardU - Thats what people thought about landing the first stage of the rocket back on Earth...or a barge in the ocean. If anyone can pull this off, it's Musk. I can't wait until September, the Space conference thing he'll be at in Mexico. That is when he will unveil a TON of info. All people know so far is that he will give a talk, and in it disclose his BFR (Big F*ckin Rocket), which will dwarf the Saturn V rocket. Also he will show off the MCT concept (Mars Colonial Transport), which is the ship that will take people to Mars. The Main ship itself wont land, it will be for space only, and endlessly bounce back and forth from Earth to Mars & vice versa. Exciting Times!
davidkarr
I suggest colonising the moon first. Lets toddle before we go into warp speed. The moon is 3 days away. Mars is NINE MONTHS away at best. There are some similarities to Mars and some not. By experiencing living away from earth, the experience will be in good stead. Also rockets to Mars could be launched from the moon which only has 1/6 of earth's gravity.
neutrino23
This is extremely ambitious. They pretty much need to start building now to launch in time to land in 2025. You would think they would want to go through a few iterations of attempted landings, failures and redesigns. It changes the scope of the work if you are already talking about people dying. NASA wouldn't work that way. To gain the protection from space radiation that you have at sea level you'd need about 40 ft of water around you. On Mars I suppose you could get away with 20 or 30 ft of soil over your head so perhaps the colonists could dig in and live mostly underground with limited excursions at the surface.