Mars 2024? Here’s what to know about Elon Musk’s mind-boggling space plan

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk updated his company’s plans to get to Mars in a keynote speech at the International Astronautical Congress in Australia. (Sept. 29, 2017) (Sign up for our free video newsletter here


Will humans visit Mars by 2024? SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk says he can make it happen if all goes according to plans he announced on Friday.

At the 68th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, Musk unveiled a plan to make humans a “multi-planet species,” starting with a casual trip to the Red Planet just a few years from now and a colony there to follow.

“Fundamentally the future is vastly more exciting and interesting if we are a space-faring civilization and a multi-planet species than if we are not,” Musk said. “It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past and I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.”

Here are the basics (ha!) of SpaceX’s plan.

How does he plan to do this?

First, SpaceX plans to send two cargo loads in 2022 in a spaceship — deemed BFR — it expects to start building next year. It would be a two-stage rocket with a 9 meter diameter height of nearly 350 feet.

BFR would be reusable and could carry up to 100 crew members.

“I feel fairly confident that we can complete the ship and be ready for launch in about five years,” he said. “If not this timeframe, then soon thereafter.”

How would SpaceX pay for it?

Musk believes SpaceX can use its current model of reusing rockets and boosters to run an efficient and affordable program. That would mean eventually retiring its three current models — Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon — and using BFR to complete all the tasks previously assigned to those rockets.

That would include satellite launches and International Space Station resupply flights. Few financial specifics were offered otherwise.

"If we can do that, then all the resources that are used for Falcon 9, Heavy and Dragon can be applied to this system. That's really fundamental," Musk said. "We believe that we can do this with the revenue we receive for launching satellites and for servicing the space station."

What will happen on Mars?

SpaceX’s long term plan is “terraforming Mars and making it a really nice place to be.”

"I think that's quite a beautiful picture,” Musk said.

He introduced this visual to depict what he sees happening up there.

But wait, there’s more.

Musk also wants to use the BFR technology for “Earth to Earth” travel. He says it would make travel to almost anywhere in the world possible in between 30 and 60 minutes.

“It will feel like a mild to moderate amusement park ride on ascent and then smooth, peaceful and silent in zero gravity for most of the trip until landing,” Musk said in a tweet.

The cost per seat would be about the same as full fare economy in an aircraft, Musk also says.

An example he gave was a group of passengers boarding the rocket and flying to Shanghai, China in 29 minutes. Watch this:

The BFR will be capable of taking people from any city to any other city on Earth in under one hour.

Would you fly on BFR? Do you believe Musk can pull any of these fantastical ideas off?

Here’s a look at what some of your fellow Earthlings think.

Plans for quick travel on BFR?

Some people are already ready to go to Mars.

You can watch Musk’s full mind-boggling presentation below. Good luck, humanity.

This week at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia, SpaceX CEO and Lead Designer Elon Musk will provide an update to his 2016 presentation regarding ...


Twitter: @abbyhamblin