Innovation

SpaceX Starship: Elon Musk explains how entertainment will work

The giant rocket, set for a trip to Mars, will have its work cut out.

SpaceX's giant Starship vessel won't just serve as a means of transport – it could host some of the most spectacular entertainment experiences in history.

The stainless steel rocket, which SpaceX is currently producing in prototype form, is designed to send up to 100 people or 100 tons of cargo to the moon, Mars and beyond. It's fueled by liquid oxygen and methane, enabling it to collect more fuel on other planets and venture out further into the stars. With CEO Elon Musk planning to establish a city on Mars by 2050, it could be the vessel that achieves Musk's dream of a "multi-planetary species."

It won't just be for transport, though. SpaceX has released concept art for a concerto held in the Starship's pressurized cargo area. On Thursday, Musk explained via his Twitter feed how this would work in practice:

"There will be a common area in the forward section with a big window like this. It will be a lot heavier than steel, but not dangerous. Consider astronauts on the moon with a very thin windowed helmet. They were fine."
Musk's declaration on Twitter.Elon Musk/Twitter

Considering humanity's previous priorities for space travel, it perhaps seems an odd focus. Historical missions have focused on life support and safety, bringing to mind suited-up astronauts strapped in on daring missions. Entertainment has taken a secondary role, with notable exceptions like astronaut Chris Hadfield covering David Bowie on the International Space Station in 2013.

While the Starship is designed to send the first humans to Mars on another daring mission, creative expression has also emerged early as a possibility thanks to the Starship's large pressurized cabin space. Musk described it as measuring more than 1,000 cubic meters in September 2019, larger than an Airbus A380 that can seat between 400 and 600 people. Musk has explained how each cabin could comfortably hold two or three people, and zero-gravity allows the designers to more efficiently use every surface.

One of the first artistic uses for Starship could be the "Dear Moon" mission. Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa plans to take a trip around the moon with six to eight artists, encouraging them to produce new artworks. The mission is expected to take place around 2023. Maezawa announced in January plans to host a dating show to find a partner to accompany him on the trip, but later that month told the 27,722 applicants that he was canceling the show.

But Musk has made his own suggestions about performances in space. Earlier this month, he shared the same image and suggested performers could hold a Starship concerto in zero gravity.

Musk has shared several images from the Starship prototype production in Texas. Musk noted that a current shift of the header tanks to the nosecone is unlikely to change the size of the pressurized cabin volume located near the front, as the takes only take up around two percent of volume.

As the team at the Boca Chica facility continue to develop the new ship, the Starship's first mission expected next year draws closer.

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