The founder of SpaceX and Tesla voiced plans for the colonization of Mars for a long time. We can say that, in a sense, this is the most important goal in the life of an outstanding entrepreneur - it's not for nothing that he declared that he dreamed of dying on the Red Planet. In his own words, this is the main reason he makes money at all. So the main questions are only how and when he is going to send humanity to another planet. He responded to most of them by presenting the Interplanetary Transportation System at the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico City.
Why colonize Mars at all? Musk believes that humanity has two paths: either we will die out sooner or later due to natural disasters or other global catastrophes, or we will become an "interplanetary species" that has expanded its habitat in the solar system.
Mars is the most suitable planet to begin the colonization of space from it: even if it is unsuitable for life by itself, its conditions cannot be called extreme, especially in comparison with other planets and satellites known to us. In the future, the "Interplanetary Transport System" can be used to travel throughout the solar system - this will be possible thanks to the structure of the rocket and spacecraft used for flights.
Big Fucking Rocket
To colonize Mars, SpaceX offered two means closely related to each other: a giant BFR rocket, the Big Fucking Rocket, which can be loosely translated as Big Fucking Rocket (a reference to BFG, Big Fucking Gun, the most powerful weapon in the cult computer game Doom) and the BFS ship, "Big Fucking Spaceship" - "Big fucking spaceship." The first, equipped with a powerful booster powered by methane fuel, is supposed to put the BFS into Earth orbit, leave it there, and then return to Earth at the launch point. There it will be loaded with fuel and re-launched into space. Having reached the spacecraft in orbit, the rocket will transfer all the methane to it - and fly back to Earth. This will be repeated until the BFS fuel tanks are full. The entire rocket assembly (ie the booster plus BFS) will be the largest spacecraft in history.
Musk claims that the booster can return to the takeoff point within 20 minutes after launch from Earth, and it can be used about a thousand times, which will significantly reduce the cost of launches. The engine of the booster is called the Raptor, and there are 42 of them in the BFR booster. So even if some of them fail, the rocket can continue flying. In addition, this design will make the landing more accurate.
And only then will the BFS release huge solar panels, and the colonists will go to Mars.
"Big fucking spaceship"
The first flights to Mars will be incredibly expensive, but later the cost of the flight will be about $ 140 thousand per ton of cargo. SpaceX plans to send a hundred colonists to the Red Planet in the early stages, this number will double in the future. Therefore, it will be possible to create a Martian colony of a million people in five thousand flights. According to Musk's calculations, it will take from forty to one hundred years.
Fly to Mars on BFS from 30 to 90 days, and they plan to launch the spacecraft once every two years, when the Earth and Mars are located as close to each other as possible. The rest of the time, SpaceX plans to send cargo ships to the Red Planet, as well as launch colonists in BFS into Earth orbit, who will wait there for the start of the flight.
Musk said that to get potential colonists interested, you need to make the flight "fun." The BFS will be equipped with separate movie rooms, Zero Gravity playrooms and even a restaurant.
However, the first flight will be very dangerous. Musk says openly that the chances of astronauts dying on a planet or in a spacecraft are quite high: “Are you ready to die? Then you are suitable for us,”the businessman added, answering the question of who should become the first colonists.
As conceived by SpaceX, it is not enough just to send a spacecraft to Mars - you need to return it back. Therefore, the fuel will be synthesized directly on the Red Planet.
To do this, you need to build a "fuel farm" on Mars. Elon did not go into technical details, but said that it would be "relatively easy" to get methane on another planet.
Having placed such "farms" in different parts of the solar system, mankind will be able to move around it, simply refueling at each point.
The estimated budget required to launch the Interplanetary Transport System is $ 2 billion per year. That's a lot of money, but SpaceX is confident that it can be obtained. From the sources of funding that Musk named: the profit of SpaceX itself from the delivery of cargo to the ISS commissioned by NASA, private investments of investors, campaigns on Kickstarter.
© Susana Gonzalez / Bloomberg via Getty Images
SpaceX plans to start testing the spacecraft as early as 2018, and tests of the booster will begin in 2019. A year later - the launch of the rocket into orbit, and in 2022 - the first flights to Mars. In the period from 2018 to 2022, the Red Dragon mission will be launched to deliver goods to the planet necessary for the life of future colonists.
It is worth noting that these are "ideal" terms, that is, set on condition of sufficient funding and the absence of unforeseen technical problems during the construction of the rocket. However, according to Musk, everything shown in the beautiful presentation video "Systems" was created on the basis of real drawings and in the end everything should look exactly as in the video. So humanity is close to colonizing another planet as never before.>