Elon Musk, the prolific CEO of SpaceX and electric car maker Tesla, has once again shown his optimism towards creating human settlement in Mars. Musk has been one of the most vocal advocate of interplanetary settlement and in an early morning tweet, he shared some pictures of the launch vehicle followed by a tweet that said, “#OccupyMars”.
Elon Musk, often portrayed as the savior of this planet, has already published a paper that details how he plans to colonize Mars in the immediate future. Musk basically wants to turn humans into multi-planetary species and aims to establish colonies on the red planet. The central piece of Musk’s vision centers on a reusable rocket-and-spaceship combo that he calls the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS).
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 17, 2018
In the paper, Elon Musk notes that both the booster and the spaceship will be powered by SpaceX’s Raptor engine, which is supposedly three times stronger than the Merlin engines found on Falcon 9 rocket. The spaceship and its booster, powered by 42 Raptor engines, will be the most powerful rocket, when it embarks on its mission to Mars and will be capable of launching 300 metric tons to the Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
In the paper, Musk wrote that he envisions SpaceX launching 1,000 or more ITS spaceships to the red planet. Each of these spaceships are estimated to carry 100 or more people. Within next 50 to 100 years, Musk envisions sending at least 1 million people to Mars using the Interplanetary Transport System.
With SpaceX, Musk has successfully managed to overcome things that were considered impossible by space experts. At the beginning, Musk’s vision to develop reusable rockets seemed audacious but he proved it to be a sustainable design by landing the booster of his Falcon 9 rocket and relaunching it back to space. With several other companies like Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit and Bigelow Aerospace working on interplanetary space activities, Musk’s idea seems to be one that could become reality first.
Watch: Five Big Takeaways from SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Launch
However, like any other idea associated with Musk, this idea also comes with its own set of risks. SpaceX is yet to conduct test flights for the ITS and Musk’s recent actions, including nervous breakdown in front of media, over delayed production of Model 3 and smoking pot during a podcast, has raised concerns among investors and some of his ardent followers.