“To infinity, and beyond” seems to be Elon Musk’s motto these days.
The electric car tycoon recently announced his intention to revolutionise the solar energy industry. Now Musk is setting his sights on a goal that was considered science-fiction until recently: putting humans on Mars.
Yes, Mars. In an interview with CNBC, Musk declared that it was “certainly possible” to put humans on Mars in a decade.
“I’m hopeful that the first people can be taken to Mars in 10-12 years,” he said.
Musk isn’t the first person to propose a Mars colony. The Mars One Foundation hopes to send humans on one-way trips to the Red Planet beginning in 2023, a year ahead of Musk’s goal.
So far the foundation has recieved over 200,000 applications to take a permanent trip to Mars, an alarming commentary on Earth’s state of affairs.
For Musk, establishing a colony on Mars is vital. Without it, humans will only live as long as we avoid a catastrophic event like the asteroid that took out the dinosaurs.
But is getting to Mars by 2024 realistic? “I believe it is completely feasible,” Philip Metzger, physicist and planetary scientist at the NASA Kennedy Space Center, told Forbes.
Musk is so enthusiastic about space exploration that he founded SpaceX in 2002, which recently unveiled the Dragon V2, a space capsule designed to take NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.
“The reason SpaceX was created was to accelerate development of rocket technology, all for the goal of establishing a self-sustaining, permanent base on Mars,” Musk said in May.
SpaceX is also working on another spacecraft, the Falcon Heavy. The Falcon Heavy is designed to send payloads into space, but won’t be heading to Mars in a decade. The spacecraft going to Mars will be “much bigger than Falcon Heavy,” Musk has said.