When Will We Build a Settlement on Mars?
When mankind first put astronauts on the moon, it was the pinnacle of scientific achievements. Many had high aspirations of venturing out into our solar system and exploring the great expanse of space. Fast forward to 2018, and we have yet to set foot on any other celestial bodies. Luckily, there are several organizations that have their eyes set on exploring Mars on foot for the first time, and they even have considered building settlements on the red planet. Of them all, SpaceX is the company with the best chance in reaching this goal.
Led by businessman and engineer Elon Musk, SpaceX has developed the most comprehensive plan for settlement on Mars. The plan to colonize Mars revolves around a large rocket called the BFR, which will carry up to 100 people into orbit before returning in an upright position. Typically, rockets are shed after a single use. Musk’s BFR will be able to make multiple trips, only requiring a refuel before departing again.
The SpaceX timeline begins in 2019, with testing conducted until 2022. At this time, SpaceX hopes to launch a fully functional BFR on a course to Mars, where it will transport supplies to the planet’s surface. By 2024, they hope to have four landers on Mars, with two of them manned by a crew of astronauts. These initial ships are the foundations for where a new Mars settlement will be built.
So, what would a settlement on Mars look like? Well, nothing like what we’d see on Earth. The conditions on Mars are not very friendly when it comes to our fragile human bodies. Due to this, colonization of Mars would require the construction of “habitats”, which would simulate Earth-like conditions and allow humans to survive. These dome-like structures would host a wide range of facilities necessary for survival, including food production and storage space, resource extraction equipment, and a variety of other supplies.
According to Musk, colonizing other planets is the only thing that will save the human race from destruction. In order to develop a thriving city, he said, “The threshold for a self-sustaining city on Mars or civilization would be a million people.”
While we won’t be seeing this come to fruition until somewhere around 2040-2050, this is an exciting time to see the human race take steps in exploring the last frontier. It has been far too long for us to ignore our natural desire to adventure into the unknown, and with SpaceX, we have a very good chance of making this dream a reality.