Space transport company SpaceX plans its first unmanned trip to Mars in 2022, to be followed by a manned mission in 2024, founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Friday. The company aims to start construction of its first spaceship in the first half of 2018, Reuters reported.
SpaceX will build smaller rocket ships than it had planned in order make going to Mars cheaper, Musk said at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide. Apart from going to Mars, the rocket his company builds could also take people from one point on Earth to any other within an hour, National Geographic quoted him as saying.
The company initially planned a suite of space vehicles to colonise Mars, but Musk said SpaceX is now focused on a “single, slimmer and shorter” rocket instead. “I feel fairly confident that we can complete the ship and be ready for a launch in about five years,” he was quoted as saying.
Musk also presented a proposal that SpaceX would fund its rockets by servicing the International Space Station and delivering satellites into orbit. Earlier, the chief executive had proposed the development of a huge spacecraft to mass transport people to Mars, which he has estimated would cost $10 billion (Rs 6.5 crore) per person. He said a priority was to get the cost of moving to the red planet reduced by five million percent, to the average cost of a house in the United States.
“It would be quite fun to be on Mars because you would have gravity that is about 37% of that of Earth, so you would be able to lift heavy things and bound around,” he had said earlier.
To the moon and back
Earlier this year, Musk had outlined an idea proposing a huge spacecraft to mass transport people to Mars. He said one of the company’s aims was to get the cost of moving to the red planet reduced by five million percent, to the average cost of a house in the United States.
Besides this, he had also announced that SpaceX would send two private citizens to the moon late in 2018. Two individuals have paid a “significant deposit” to do a moon mission.