Elon Musk’s SpaceX just released a gallery of gorgeous new images of its Dragon spaceship landing on Mars. It’s propaganda, pure and simple, but it’s really great propaganda.
The artist’s renderings of the sleek, conical capsule show how it might look as the Dragon shoots through the Martian atmosphere, throws on its thrusters to land, and finally touches down on the Red Planet’s rocky terrain.
In 2012, the Dragon had the honor of being the first commercial spacecraft to successfully make a round-trip cargo delivery to the International Space Station — a feat that only nation-run space agencies had been able to accomplish. But Dragon was never meant to ferry goods. Dragon was designed to carry people.
It’s no secret that SpaceX wants to establish human colonies on the Red Planet, though the possibility of setting up a Martian village is still decades away. Sending a robotic version of the spacecraft to Mars, on the other hand, seems to be within reach. The company recently announced that its “Red Dragon” project, which plans to send an unmanned Dragon to pick up samples from NASA’s 2020 Mars Rover, is already in the concept stage.
So we’ve got a few kinks to work out before we start landing capsules on Mars. In the meantime, these photos set expectations high.