Musk Reads: How SpaceX could reach Mars before 2030

Crew Dragon offers views of Earth and Robert Zubrin calls for developing the asteroid belt. Could Starlink work with an RV?

Silhouette of the Astronaut Standing on the Rocky Mountain of the Alien Red Planet/ Mars. First Mann...

Crew Dragon offers views of Earth and Robert Zubrin calls for developing the asteroid belt. Could Starlink work with an RV? It’s Musk Reads: SpaceX Edition #181.

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

Musk quote of the week

“September sounds about right”


SpaceX could collaborate with NASA and send humans to Mars before 2030, Robert Zubrin declared last week. Zubrin, the founder of the Mars Society, is credited with inspiring Musk to set his sights on Mars. During a Reddit “ask me anything” session, Zubrin responded to a question from user “jared_number_two” about when the first human landing could take place:

“Before 2030. SpaceX will do it, with NASA collaborating. If Starship is flying regularly to LEO by 2024, the next president will ask his or her advisors: Can wee [sic] get to Mars before the end of my second term. The answer will be yes. so then it will happen. By making the mission practical, SpaceX will make it sellable.”

Zubrin also wrote that he wanted to encourage “more Elon Musks” to take up the cause and defend the vision for Mars in the public sphere. After colonizing Mars, Zubrin wrote that the next step would be “developing the main belt” of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter.

The Starship could be the fully-reusable ship that makes it happen. Last week, Musk shared an image via Twitter of two giant stainless steel tanks at the firm’s Boca Chica facility in Texas. Read more.

In other Musk news…

  • SpaceX Starlink antennas may have been spotted for the first time, Teslarati reports.
  • Musk has said he “very much agree[s]” with a new push for a universal basic income. The policy is set to be trialed in a series of American cities, including Los Angeles. Michael Tubbs, the mayor behind the push, said he was motivated by events like the coronavirus pandemic and the killing of George Floyd. Read more.
  • Musk’s six favorite video games have one common theme, it turns out. His favorite games are Deus Ex, Half-Life 2, Bioshock, Mass Effect 2, Fallout 3 & New Vegas, and Saints Row IV. Read more.

What’s next for SpaceX: SpaceX is expected to complete the third launch for the third-generation GPS constellation on June 30. The launch window is set to open at 3:55 p.m. Eastern time, and the Falcon 9 will take off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The launch, SpaceNews reports, shows the government’s increasing receptiveness to reusing rockets.

Musk Reads mailroom

Earnest Thompson writes:

Is there any room for humans to remain just humans as we find on earth today, in Musks future?

It’s possible! It’s unclear how humanity would end up managing a city on Mars, and it’s possible that humans would end up treating it more as a temporary place to stay rather than a city for generations of humans to thrive. But as Rice University professor Scott Solomon explained to Inverse in May 2019, as generations are born it’s possible for mutations to naturally occur and develop.

Carroll Kelton writes:

Can Starlink receiver be used traveling in RV, due to changing locations?

This should be possible, yes. During Tesla’s fourth quarter 2019 earnings call, Musk was asked whether the firm’s electric cars would support Starlink. Describing the antenna as the size of a pizza box, Musk said that “technically you could just buy one and stick it on the car,” but he also added that he’s “not thinking about it very much to be honest.” This suggests the RV should be fine for hosting an antenna.

Chriustiine Ellis writes:

Will SpaceX go public on the stock market someday?

Never say never, but it seems unlikely for the near future. SpaceX has never outlined plans for an initial public offering, and Musk poured cold water on an IPO for a spun-out Starlink at the Satellite 2020 conference in March. In 2018, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell told CNBC that the company “can’t go public until we’re flying regularly to Mars.” It seems for now, the firm is happy to avoid the pressures of quarterly returns and investor scrutiny while it aims for decades-long plans to expand humanity into the stars.

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Photo of the week

Crew Dragon crew member Bob Behnken shares an impressive image from the International Space Station.


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The ultra-fine print

This has been Musk Reads: SpaceX Edition #181, the weekly rundown of essential reading about futurist and entrepreneur Elon Musk. I’m Mike Brown, an innovation journalist for Inverse.

A version of this article appeared in the “Musk Reads” newsletter. Sign up for free here.

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