Elon Musk acknowledges that during SpaceX’s initial voyages to Mars, “a lot of people will possibly die,” but insists it will be a “glorious journey and unforgettable experience.”
When the SpaceX creator made the bold prediction, he was speaking with Peter Diamandis, the founder of the X Prize Foundation.
Musk has already stated that he wants to land humans on Mars by 2026, which is seven years before NASA plans to do so.
‘Going to Mars reads like the advertisement for Shackleton going to the Antarctic,’ a barefoot Musk warned on Thursday. You’re well aware that it’s risky, unpleasant, and a long journey ahead of you.
‘You may not make it back alive, but it will be a magnificent journey and an unforgettable experience.’
‘To be frank, a lot of people are going to die in the beginning.’
‘It’s difficult over there.’
In May of last year, SpaceX reintroduced spaceflight to America by launching NASA astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, an occurrence that had not occurred in nearly a decade.
That was also the first time a private corporation sent astronauts into orbit, dubbed ‘Launch America.’
Musk told the Good Times Show in February that his ambition was to construct a self-sustaining Martian civilization.
NASA’s Artemis initiative, which will see the next man and woman land on the Moon in 2024, aims to bring the first humans on Mars by 2033.
While Musk hopes to land humans on Mars by 2026, he is pragmatic and says the deadline isn’t set in stone because of technological challenges.
Before humans can fly to Mars on Starship, Musk claims that a range of technological advancements must be made between now and 2026.
These include ensuring the Starship is completely reusable and capable of reaching orbit where it can refuel before embarking on the six-month journey to Mars.
Musk aims to send an unscrewed Starship to Mars and back in 2024, after a series of promising test flights, ahead of a crewed launch in 2026.
‘It has been possible to expand life beyond Earth and make life multi-planetary for the first time in the four and a half billion-year history of Earth,’ he said.
‘Humanity is the agent of life, and we have a duty to ensure that the inhabitants of the Earth continue to exist even if there is a calamity on Earth, whether man-made or natural calamity – there are many mass extinctions in the fossil record.’
‘It’s about making sure we get to the point that it’s self-sustaining even if a disaster stops the ships from getting there.’
‘Will a self-sustaining city on Mars or World War Three come first?’
To begin, he said, it would be a small, dangerous outpost that would necessitate a lot of hard work, as well as a ‘frontier world’ with far more ways to die than on Earth.
‘It will be enjoyable and exciting, but it will not be a luxurious experience to begin with.’
The propellant factory, solar power, food processing, and iron ore refinery, he said, are all “fundamentals of industry” needed to make Mars self-sufficient.
With the joyful launch of SpaceX’s third crew capsule in less than a year, the International Space Station’s population swelled to 11 on Saturday. It’s the most people up there in over a decade.
The astronauts from the United States, Russia, Japan, and France all managed to get into camera view for a congratulatory call from their respective space agencies’ representatives.
After launching from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, a recycled SpaceX capsule carrying four astronauts arrived at the space station the next day.
Despite the fact that this was SpaceX’s third crew flight for NASA, it was the first to use a previously-flown spacecraft, an important part of SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk’s mission to push to the moon and Mars.
Last May, the Dragon capsule was used for SpaceX’s first crew flight, and the Falcon rocket launched crew two in November.
It was the first time two SpaceX crew Dragons had been parked there at the same time – virtually next to each other.
NASA chose Musk’s SpaceX to create the spacecraft that will carry the first woman and next man to the moon earlier this month. Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Dynetics were beaten out by Musk’s company.
According to NASA’s official announcement, SpaceX will be the first company to return humans to the moon for the first time since the Apollo mission 48 years ago.
- Elon Musk SpaceX: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times