A group of humans could colonize Mars as early as 2025, Elon Musk claimed on his Twitter page Tuesday. The SpaceX CEO is working on a manned mission to Mars using a new “Starship” vehicle, which uses a different fuel to the company’s Falcon 9 rockets to enable humans to refuel and come home. These initial missions would lay the groundwork for a more ambitious colony, which Musk now claims could arrive in the next “7 to 10 years.”
The prediction is largely in keeping with Musk’s previous assertions, suggesting work is progressing smoothly on SpaceX plans to visit the red planet. Musk told an audience at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, last September that two unmanned Starships (then known as the “BFR”) would drop off initial supplies to support human life in 2022, followed by two more unmanned ships and two manned ships in 2024 — a timetable Musk himself described as “ambitious.”
Musk also suggested that some of the first visitors could be artists and creators. SpaceX has already announced that some of the first travelers on the Starship would be a team of between six to eight artists, accompanied by Japanese billionaire Yukazu Maezawa, on a trip around the moon in 2023. The goal is to encourage the creation of new artworks, inspired by their trip.
The Mars missions are part of a plan to also support further scientific study. Paul Wooster, principal Mars development engineer for SpaceX, said in September that the intitial steps would involve developing infrastructure to support basic human needs. Humans would need to extract one tonne of ice every day, which would be used to make the methane for rocket fuel. They would then need to consider issues like greenhouses, life supports and habitats. Once that’s in place, the settlement could turn its attention to broader questions of scientific experiments.
SpaceX is scheduled to perform short “hop tests” of its Starship at the Boca Chica facility in Texas next year.
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