Among the various projects that Spacex have in mind, one of the most ambitious (or the most ambitious, directly) is that of get to mars. In recent years the company has taken very important steps in its desire to colonize the red planet and Elon musk, its CEO, is confident in hit the target in really bold deadlines.
In his recent participation in the Lex Fridman podcast, Elon Musk talked about every topic you can imagine. Tesla, SpaceX, Bitcoin, Dogecoin, money, comedy and even memes were part of a conversation that lasted approximately two and a half hours. When referring to the aerospace company, efforts to put humans on Mars took most of the lights out.
When do you think SpaceX will put humans on the surface of Mars? Was Lex Fridman’s question. After a pause that seemed endless, Elon Musk was categorical: “At best, 5 years. At worst, 10 years.”. It is certainly not the first time that the employer has established a goal that seems optimistic, but its fulfillment will depend on solving several non-minor issues, both in the field of engineering and economics.
“Starship is the most complex and advanced rocket ever made. […] The fundamental optimization of Starship is to minimize the cost per ton to orbit and ultimately the cost per ton to reach the surface of Mars. “
Elon Musk, on the fundamental factors to solve to bring humans to Mars
“There is no amount of money that will get you a ticket to Mars,” says Elon Musk
Elon Musk says there is a cost per ton to reach the surface of Mars that must be achieved so that it is possible to establish a self-sufficient city. “Nobody can fly to Mars for a billion dollars,” explained the CEO of SpaceX, adding that there is no amount of money in the world that today can secure a ticket to the red planet.
But the businessman went further and asserted that humanity cannot afford to reach Mars, leave traces on the surface and not return for 50 years; and he even referred to the need to think of humans, in the future, as a “multiplanetary race” to be able to survive some kind of calamity that puts life on Earth at risk.
During the interview, Elon Musk was also encouraged to analyze what a hypothetical form of government would look like for the first colonizers of Mars. “It would be a new frontier and a good opportunity to reimagine the nature of a government. I would suggest having a direct democracy, so that people vote directly on something, instead of a representative democracy,” he said.
Are the times for SpaceX to take humans to Mars realistic?
As we mentioned earlier, Elon Musk has previously estimated when SpaceX would arrive on Mars and has not been accurate. In November 2018, he assured in an interview that the objective would be met in 2024, an expectation that clearly will not be met and that at the time had to voices qualified against. This does not necessarily mean that the new forecast of not taking more than 10 years is wrong, but it does mean that It will depend on a Starship development rhythm without any hiccups..
Also, if we take into account the delays suffered by NASA’s Artemis project, of which SpaceX is a part, the story does not seem too benevolent. Recall that the US space agency recently delayed its plan to return to the Moon until “not before 2025”. This occurred after the lawsuit of Blue Origin for the millionaire contract awarded to Elon Musk’s company to develop the lunar landing module; and also by an internal investigation in which it was recognized that the objective established by Donald Trump to return to the Earth’s natural satellite in 2024 was not realistic.
Will Elon Musk’s confidence be enough to get the first humans to settle on Mars in the beginning of the next decade, or even earlier? The last word on the subject is yet to be said.