SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed his plans to make human colonisation of Mars possible, in a presentation at the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia on Friday, September 29.
When he addressed IAC held in Mexico last year, Musk spoke about sending thousands of people to the Red Planet for human colonisation on the Martian surface. This time, he divulged more details about his ambitious plan.
Here's all you need to know:
1. Musk aims at cost cutting by devising a smaller sized spaceship to go to Mars. Its construction would start in the first half of next year. The rocket would be slimmer and shorter than it was envisaged before.
2. As per the revelations at the IAC conference, SpaceX aims at carrying out its first trip to Mars in 2022 in which it will be carrying just cargo. This mission would be followed by a manned mission in 2024. The eminent US space administration NASA will be carrying out the first manned mission to the Red Planet almost a decade after this attempt.
3. According to the plan Musk had previously made, an unmanned capsule named Red Dragon would be launched in 2018. "We want to make our current vehicles redundant," he said, as reported by Reuters.
"We want to have one system. If we can do that, then all the resources...can be applied to this system. I feel fairly confident that we can complete the ship and be ready for a launch in about five years," he added.
4. Capable of carrying 100 passengers, the rocket would be partially reusable and it has the potential of voyaging directly from Earth to Mars. The spacecraft could also be used for fast transportation on Earth, Musk unveiled.
5. Separate announcements were made regarding the manned mission to the Red Planet by Lockheed Martin Corp, the American global aerospace, defense, security and advanced technologies company. The concept drawings regarding the "base camp" space station orbiting Mars and landing craft that would carry four space farers to the Martian surface were also revealed.
"We know its cold, it's pretty inhospitable, so we start with the robots and then we go down with these landers," said Rob Chambers, Lockheed's director of human space flight strategy, as quoted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
6. Rob Chambers mentioned nothing about the date of the mission but he stated that it aims at reaching Mars in the 2030s and it would be collaboration with NASA. The journey to Mars is likely to be as long as 6 to 9 months. The distance between Earth and Mars is 225 million kilometres (140 million miles).
The Blue Origin space venture, which is founded by Jeff Bezos, is also working towards creating a heavy-lift vehicle dubbed New Armstrong which would have the potential to fly to Mars.
Apart from this mission by SpaceX to colonise Mars, Russia and China are getting ready to send manned missions to the Moon.
"Russia has agreed to work with NASA planning a "deep space gateway" space station in lunar orbit, which would serve as a staging post for future missions," Reuters reported.