To infinity and Mars

The Namib Mirabilis is quite a well-read bunch and saw it fit to explore the deep space a bit by delving into the works of Elon Musk.

13 September 2019 | Technology

Danielle Esterhuizen

Elon Musk takes travelling to another level, you could say his vision is out of this world. This South African billionaire, entrepreneur and investor (who is also an engineer) is taking a giant leap for mankind to a gigantic jump for human civilisation!

Founder of Tesla Motors, SpaceX, The Boring Company, Neuralink and many more, came up with an extraordinary idea; flying to Mars and start a new colony. He wants this mission to be an inspiration for people, like when it was an inspiration with the Apollo 11. He thinks that we are meant to explore the unknown, he sees humans travelling through deep space and settling on more planets or like on the moons of Jupiter or even beyond our solar system. There are endless risks of failure but a good lesson to keep moving and aim for the stars. In one interview, at the World Government Summit, he said that “There need to be reasons to get up in the morning, life can’t be just about solving problems. Otherwise what’s the point?”

When Musk founded SpaceX in 2002, his goal was building a spacecraft for commercial travel. By 2008, SpaceX was well recognized that NASA awarded this company a contract to transport large cargo for the International Space Station and replace NASA’s space shuttles. On the 22nd of May 2012, SpaceX launched the Falcon 9 rocket into space without astronauts. The vehicle travelled to the International Space Station with thousands of cargo supplies. SpaceX became the first private company that sent a spacecraft to the International Space Station. Throughout his successes and failures, his new main vision was to colonise Mars. SpaceX is working on a spacecraft called the BFR (Big Falcon Rocket) however, if he were to take people to Mars on a 100 meter spaceship, it would need “tremendous entrepreneurial resources” Musk says.

Elon has developed the BFR to be able to refuel and relaunch using liquid hydrogen and methane unlike the rocket he used for his Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. The plan is that astronauts can hop from planet to planet using renewable resources, for instance the Mars missions, they would have to gather the Martian ice (convert to water) and carbon dioxide to form methane to refuel their rocket tank. Under development, Musk hopes the first commercial flight will be around 2021. SpaceXs timeframe has become much shorter, because they would have to send 10 launches with heavy cargo and crew to build the city on Mars by the end 2050. At the moment there are only unmanned rocket launches, this year will be the “hop” tests for the spacecraft to withstand re-entry and next year will be the testing of boosters, altitude and high-velocity flights. In 2021, the Starship will be the first commercial flight to embark space. Thereafter in the year 2022, SpaceX have reached Mars already, Musk says this would be the two unmanned ships that make it to the red planet. By 2023, SpaceX will expect that they can send people on a trip around the moon, however not a Mars-focused mission because they have a phenomenon called the “opposition” that roughly every two years, Earth and Mars are aligned, which makes the distance shorter. So, by 2024, they would send their first manned mission to the red planet if the two cargo ships have made a successful journey to Mars and back.

Picture by inverse.com

Elon wants as many volunteers to participate on this a mission, but not many will want to join because the price is high, so he has to make it affordable for nearly anyone. No one wants to pay N$60 billion per person, so he narrowed it down to roughly N$3 billion. By 2025, Mars will be a flourishing little city with advance tech and innovations, increasing the chances for human civilisation. So pack your bags, we moving to Mars!

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