It’s been years since Elon Musk sold Paypal and went on a life-long mission of colonizing Mars and sending as many people to space as possible. Yet here we are, on the verge of unbelievable scientific discoveries that bring regular space travel closer with each passing year. With a staff of brilliant physicists, engineers, rocket-builders, and programmers, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is pouring his wild ideas into the world non-stop. This time he visited the 86th International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, and shared some of his insane plans that will revolutionize space travel and help us build a city on Mars (as well as a lunar base!).
It seems that Elon Musk’s ambitions are growing more and more with each passing year – and rightfully so! Falcon 9, a rocket designed by SpaceX that’s been doing all the fancy propulsive landings over the past few years, is nothing compared to what we’re about to see in the nearest future. Behold the BFR, one rocket that will rule them all!
BFR (which stands for Big F*cking Rocket) is not an official nickname, but is still a name that best describes what this device actually is – a huge rocket that’s 350 feet tall with a capacity to deliver 150 tons of payload to Low Earth Orbit. Think that’s a lot? Poor little Falcon 9 can do only 15 tons at a time!
Not only can you fit a whole stack on Falcon 1 rockets into the BFR, you can also use it for transportation. That’s right, the enormous payload capacity is there for a reason – Musk wants his rockets to become ‘ferries’ that will take people from one city anywhere on Earth to another under one hour. In fact, he wants it to be under 30 minutes!
Elon Musk wants the BFR to replace all SpaceX vehicles and become an affordable (yes, you heard that right) means of transportation that will eventually replace air flights. He’s planning on doing that by incorporating reusability like with 747 that’s been used many times which allowed dropping the cost per flight.
Elon Musk also noted it was time we finally built at least “some sort of lunar base” as it’s already 2017 and we still haven’t got one. All sci-fi movies point out that humanity needs to have a lunar base, so why haven’t we still built one? We certainly don’t know the answer to that, but if Elon Musk says we should have one – it’ll soon be there!
He didn’t say much about the lunar base, but dubbed it Lunar Base Alpha (like in the Space: 1999 movie) and teased a few pictures of what it might look like in the future.
All this – the lunar base, the BFR – will help humanity become a multi-planet species. That’s where the Martian City comes in! Of course, Elon Musk mentioned it too as it has been his long lasting dream to bring people to Mars (and make them stay there, preferably with air, food, and water).
The BFR will be launched from Earth, bearing its priceless human cargo, then refueled in orbit, and then sent to Mars. Sounds like a piece of cake, and maybe it will be once we see the BFR roam the skies of Earth with people on board! Of course, Elon Musk is not just all talk, he shared some of his actual plans that will bring the Mars Mission even closer. In 2022, he’s planning to send two cargo ships to Mars that will have two goals accordingly: establish “power, mining, and life support infrastructure for future flights” and “confirm water resources”. Yes, you heard that right!
Musk admits those are big goals, but systems are currently being built to make all of them possible. In 2024, he wants to send two more cargo ships to Mars, as well as two with crews on board that will look for a source of water. Yep, just like that – a crewed mission to Mars to establish a water source in a few years from now. Not in a sci-fi movie, but in real life!
Elon Musk may very well be the biggest dreamer on Earth, but that’s exactly what we need – dreamers with larger than life goals and enough enthusiasm to at least try to make them come true! Here’s what a Martian City could look like in a few decades or so. Dawn and dusk skies are blue on Mars and during the day the sky is red.