ELON Musk has detailed his plot to build a “glorious” city on Mars – but says early visitors will probably die.
The star-gazing billionaire has reaffirmed his vision for a Martian colony that doesn’t rely on support from Earth.
Musk has previously told of how his Starship rocket – currently in testing – will one day ferry Earthlings to Mars.
And he’s said he’ll need a fleet of 1,000 ships to create a sustainable city, as orbits mean the trip is only viable once every two years.
Now speaking at the Humans to Mars summit, Musk says the journey won’t be the hard part.
“Getting to Mars, I think, is not the fundamental issue,” said Musk, as quoted by CNBC.
“The fundamental issue is building a base, building a city on Mars that is self-sustaining.
“We’re going to build a propellant plant, an initial Mars base – Mars Base Alpha – and then get it to the point where it’s self-sustaining.”
Musk is expected to begin orbital Starship test flights next year.
The rocket is designed to be fully reusable, and will allow for long-distance journeys through space.
But the early trips to Mars will be treacherous.
“I want to emphasise that this is a very hard and dangerous difficult thing. Not for the faint of heart,” Musk explained.
“Good chance you’ll die, it’s going to be tough going, but it will be pretty glorious if it works out.”
The SpaceX Starship rocket is still very much in a testing phase.
And Musk says that the interior and cabin haven’t been significantly developed for passengers yet.
“We’ve got to first make the thing work,” he said.
Musk went on: “We’re making good progress.
“The thing that really impedes progress on Starship is the production system.
“A year ago there was nothing there, and now we’ve got quite a lot of production capability.
“So we’re rapidly making more and more ships.”
Musk previously vowed to put a million people on Mars by 2050.
According to Musk, SpaceX aims to build 1,000 Starships at a facility in South Texas over a 10-year period.
That’s 100 rockets per year – a pretty tall feat considering the firm hasn’t built a single functioning Starship yet.
Eventually, the Tesla boss added, the goal would be to launch 1,000 Starship flights to Mars every year – an average of three per day.
Each trip would see 100 passengers make their way to the Red Planet to become citizens of a Mars megacity.
Musk was a little vague on what, exactly, colonists would do once they got there. “There will be a lot of jobs on Mars!” he tweeted.
The company, based in Hawthorne, California, is currently racing through various safety and engine tests to get the rocket ready.
Based on Musk’s projections, it would take a fleet of 1,000 Starships around nine years to carry a million people to Mars.
That’s assuming the company really does manage to send up 300 people a day, of course.
When you add the ten years required to build the fleet, the scheme needs to begin within the next decade to have any chance of meeting Musk’s 2050 target.
He didn’t specify what each rocket would need to carry, but a trunk-full of food, water, fuel and life support systems is a given.
In other news, Elon Musk recently launched another 60 SpaceX “internet satellites” despite fears the firm is cluttering Earth’s orbit.
Nasa has revealed the design of a moon lander that could be taking astronauts back to the lunar surface by 2024.
The space agency also recently released an unusual image of the ‘death explosion’ of a massive star that looks just like a bat.
What do you make of Musk’s Martian vision? Let us know in the comments!
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