Tesla, SpaceX, OpenAI and Boring Company CEO Elon Musk, among many other things, is known for his ambitious plans to colonize Mars. And he not only wants to go to Mars, but he plans to take us there too and colonize the Red Planet. Last year, Musk outlined SpaceX’s ambitious Interplanetary Transport System (ITS), which aims to transport humans to Mars in gigantic rockets with an estimate of making that possible by the next decade. And now, that estimate has penciled into a date.
Speaking at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, Musk has made claims to begin the “colonization” as soon as 2024, which is just seven years from now. Musk unveiled plans to send two unpiloted cargo missions to scout water sources and build a fuel plant on Mars in 2022. Two years after that, he plans to send four more flights: two more unpiloted cargo missions and two carrying astronauts.
The rocket system that will be used is known as BFR, which, according to CBS News, is a euphemism for “Big (fill-in-the-blank) Rocket.” Musk hopes that the system, which is around 106 meters tall, could one day carry people around Earth from city to city. “That’s not a typo, although it is aspirational,” he told the conference, referring to the 2022 date. “I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars,” he added. ALSO READ: Elon Musk predicts AI may trigger World War III
Further, in an “Ask Me Anything” forum on Reddit, Musk discussed technical details about the giant rocket that he says will take passengers to the Red Planet, the road map for getting to its first launch, and insights into SpaceX’s broader strategy.
He revealed tangential details of settling Mars, including speculation that settlers might use a compressed version of the Internet. Musk observed that data would take between 3 and 22 minutes to travel between Earth and Mars. “So you could Snapchat, I suppose. If that’s a thing in the future,” he wrote.
“Our goal is to get you there and ensure the basic infrastructure for propellant production and survival is in place. A rough analogy is that we are trying to build the equivalent of the transcontinental railway. A vast amount of industry will need to be built on Mars by many other companies and millions of people,” Musk spoke about establishing cities on the Red Planet.
Shortly before his presentation, Musk posted a photo on Instagram of SpaceX’s future Martian city, which he captioned “Mars City.” “Opposite of Earth,” he wrote. “Dawn and dusk sky are blue on Mars and day sky is red.” ALSO READ: Elon Musk reveals SpaceX spacesuit to make astronauts look stylish in space