SpaceX And The Journey To Mars
The mid 20th century was the time when human curiosity about the cosmos was at an all-time high. Mankind saw the first manned mission to the moon, and we marveled at the sight of humans making their mark upon a celestial object unlike our very own Earth. In 1972, we saw the very last manned mission to the moon with the Apollo 17 lander. Since then, our aspirations to walk on new planets have since dissipated, with no missions scheduled to make the journey to new planets. That is, until SpaceX came around. A private company with huge aspirations to put the first humans on Mars, SpaceX is the next best chance for us to explore a planet which has never been touched by mankind.
SpaceX was founded by the eccentric engineer and businessman Elon Musk. In September of this year, he outlined his company’s plan to plan to have the first cargo mission to Mars in 2022, with another mission, this time with a manned team, to happen in 2024. These first two missions will serve to be the very first building blocks in establishing a human colony on the Martian surface. Eventually, Musk hopes these two mission to be the start of a thriving city that can self-sustain itself.
The first crucial step to getting humans to Mars is designing a rocket that is powerful enough to make such a long journey. A typical trip to Mars would take approximately 7 months, and that is just one way. However, with SpaceX’s new rocket, the BFR, it gives us the capability of using one booster and one ship, and will allow us to make the journey to Mars quickly and efficiently. This new rocket design is described by Elon Musk as being the tool that will, “make life interplanetary”. Unlike many other rockets, the BFR is unique in that it can be reusable, rather than being shed after its fuel sources have been depleted. This is said to be a key characteristic in ensuring the affordability of such a monumental mission.
In a press conference, Musk specified that, “Our goal is to get you there and ensure the basic infrastructure for propellant production and survival is in place”. By this, SpaceX’s main role in this mission will be getting people to the planet, and ensuring basic survival systems are in place. When talking about building a thriving city on the martian surface, Musk notes that a, “…vast amount of industry will need to be built on Mars by many other companies and millions of people”. The sheer size of this mission will eventually encompass a vast amount of companies and experts, and could potentially become a global project.
Right now, SpaceX is currently working on manufacturing these newly designed rockets, and conducting rigorous testing to ensure its usability in the future. Though this mission is still a few years into the future, it is exciting to think of the possibility of such a monumental achievement for mankind. For too long, we have pushed away our curiosity of what’s beyond our planet, and this journey that SpaceX is pioneering could potentially be the biggest undertaking in human history.