Elon Musk: “I would be surprised if we don’t land on Mars in five years”

Elon Musk is CEO of SpaceX, the private space company seeking to reach Mars in the next decade (REUTERS / Callaghan O’Hare / File Photo)

As happened in the 60s and 70s with the arrival of man on the Moon, the current space age promises many adventures, some even that come with humans on other worlds.

While his competitors perfect their short-range, minute-long private space flight techniques, the entrepreneur Elon Musk imagines himself in the next five years or in the worst case, within the next decade with one of his rockets landing on the surface of Mars with humans inside. It is that his private space company called SpaceX has already been ahead of its competitors and provides the rockets with which the Americans returned to space after almost a decade in which they were forced to count on the help of the Russians to get on their Soyuz rockets. and thus continue with its activities on the International Space Station.

Mars City imaginada por Musk (Space X)
Mars City imaginada por Musk (Space X)

I’d be surprised if we don’t land on Mars in five yearsElon Musk said in mid-December at a interview with Time magazine, in which he was cover and highlighted as character of the year. “The general objective is to make life multiplanetary and allow humanity to become a space civilization”, He assured Elon Musk, who believes that SpaceX will help make this idea a reality. Likewise, the businessman considers that Mars is the candidate planet to become the new home of humanity if the Earth becomes uninhabitable.

In his recent participation in Lex Fridman’s podcast, Elon Musk once again reaffirmed this idea. When do you think SpaceX will put humans on the surface of Mars? Was Lex Fridman’s question. After a pause that seemed endless, Elon Musk was categorical: “At best, 5 years. In the worst case, 10 years “. A very optimistic vision that will depend on solving several non-minor questions, both in the field of engineering and economics.

“Starship is the most complex and advanced rocket ever made. The fundamental optimization of Starship is to minimize the cost per ton to orbit and ultimately the cost per ton to reach the surface of Mars ”, said Musk, who assures that there is a cost per ton to reach the surface of Mars that must be achieved so that it is possible to establish a self-sufficient city. “No one can fly to Mars for a billion dollars,” explained the CEO of SpaceX, adding that there is no amount of money in the world today that can secure a ticket to the red planet.

Entrepreneur Elon Musk is a visionary and inveterate entrepreneur
Entrepreneur Elon Musk is a visionary and inveterate entrepreneur

In an evening critical of the Apollo missions that deposited man on the Moon, Musk went further and asserted that humanity cannot afford to reach Mars, leave traces on the surface and not return for 50 years; and even referred to the need to think of humans, in the future, as a “multiplanetary race” to be able to survive some kind of calamity that puts life on Earth at risk.

“The next big thing is to build a self-sufficient city on Mars and bring the animals and creatures of the Earth there”, points out. This would be, in the words of the magician, a kind of “futuristic Noah’s ark” that would house more than two specimens of each species because it would be “a bit strange if there are only two”. Thus, the businessman seeks to develop a large settlement on the red planet.

During the interview, Elon Musk was also encouraged to analyze what a hypothetical form of government would look like for the first colonizers of Mars. “It would be a new frontier and a good opportunity to reimagine the nature of a government. I would suggest having a direct democracy, so that people vote directly on something, instead of a representative democracy, “he said.

The Martian colony that Musk imagines with his rockets (SpaceX)
The Martian colony that Musk imagines with his rockets (SpaceX)

Are Elon Musk’s Times Realistic?

In November 2018, he assured in an interview that the objective would be met in 2024, an expectation that clearly will not be met and that at the time had voices qualified against it. This does not necessarily mean that the new forecast of not taking more than 10 years is wrong, but it does mean that It will depend on a Starship development rhythm without any hiccups..

Also, if we take into account the delays suffered by NASA’s Artemis project, of which SpaceX is a part, the story does not seem too benevolent. Recall that the US space agency recently delayed its plan to return to the Moon until “not before 2025”.

Space critics have conflicting positions. While space policy expert Greg Autry told Business Insider that Elon Musk will probably not reach Mars until minus 2029, Professor Serkan Saydam of UNSW Sydney told SciTechDaily that a establishing a settlement on the red planet would be feasible between 2040 and 2050.

Elon Musk’s promises aren’t always kept. In fact, he himself considers that precision to provide dates is not his strong suit, But there is no doubt that it is capable of developing projects of such magnitude that many would bet on failure. With SpaceX, for example, is succeeding in rewriting the standards of aerospace transportation.

Musk's plan to go to Mars (REUTERS / Sonali Paul)
Musk’s plan to go to Mars (REUTERS / Sonali Paul)

Is a permanent colony on Mars possible?

“Starship is the most complex and advanced rocket ever made. The fundamental optimization of Starship is to minimize the cost per ton to orbit and ultimately the cost per ton to reach the surface of Mars ”, said Musk, who assures that there is a cost per ton to reach the surface of Mars that must be achieved so that it is possible to establish a self-sufficient city. “No one can fly to Mars for a billion dollars,” explained the CEO of SpaceX, adding that there is no amount of money in the world today that can secure a ticket to the red planet.

In an evening critical of the Apollo missions that deposited man on the Moon, Musk went further and asserted that humanity cannot afford to reach Mars, leave traces on the surface and not return for 50 years; and even referred to the need to think of humans, in the future, as a “multiplanetary race” to be able to survive some kind of calamity that puts life on Earth at risk.

“The next big thing is to build a self-sufficient city on Mars and bring the animals and creatures of the Earth there”, He says. This would be, in the words of the magician, a kind of “futuristic Noah’s ark” that would house more than two specimens of each species because it would be “a bit strange if there are only two”. Thus, the businessman seeks to develop a large settlement on the red planet.

During the interview, Elon Musk was also encouraged to analyze what a hypothetical form of government would look like for the first colonizers of Mars. “It would be a new frontier and a good opportunity to reimagine the nature of a government. I would suggest having a direct democracy, so that people vote directly on something, instead of a representative democracy, “he said.

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Elon Musk: “I would be surprised if we don’t land on Mars in five years”