Musk: Building the First City on Mars Requires Thousands of Ships and 20 Years

Elon Musk, CEO of Space Exploration Technologies, SpaceX, is aiming not only to get there, but also to build a red planet. The ongoing base, as a real city, supports the local population. This is the long-term vision of Musk and his space technology company – making humans an interstellar species. He gave a more detailed description of the timing of the achievement of this goal and the number of ships.

Recently, at the US Air Force’s promotion day in Los Angeles. Musk said that the company’s Starship has a launch cost of only $2 million. In response to questions raised by fans about this statement, Musk said that if the ultimate goal is to build a “self-sufficient city” on Mars. This is the most basic requirement. To make the city a reality, he adds that according to his estimates, SpaceX need to build and launch about 1,000 interstellar spacecraft to transport cargo, infrastructure and personnel to Mars. It took about 20 years, because The orbit of the Earth and Mars is about two years in sync. So there is only one chance to fly to Mars every two years.

Musk also talk about the recent progress of the “Starship”. Including how much payload the “Starship” will provide for Earth orbital transport. The Starship is design to maximize reuse. In fact, Musk pointed out that in the ideal case, it can fly up to three times a day. This is equivalent to flying more than 1,000 times per year for each interplanetary spacecraft. It means that if they can eventually build as many “starships” as possible. Following their current Falcon rockets (about 100 or so) and each average. It can transport 100 tons of cargo to Earth orbit. SpaceX will be able to transport more than 10 million tons of cargo per year to Earth orbit.

Musk points out that if all the cargo spacecraft currently in operation are taken into account, their total load capacity is only 500 tons per year. Of which SpaceX’s Falcon series rockets account for about half.

This is a large payload, in fact, this may exceed the demand in the short term. But Musk also envisioned a future. As the spacecraft flying to the Moon and Mars is ready to travel in outer space. The Earth Orbital Space Station will be a much busier place. Becoming a distribution center for transit and replenishment of orbital goods.

Of course, to build a permanent, sustainable city on Mars, you must first achieve manned flights. There is another goal from now until then, that is to let the astronauts return to the moon. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) set the time to achieve this milestone goal to be 2024, while SpaceX said it hopes to land the “Starship” on the moon as early as 2022 to prepare for the landing of astronauts. In the past, Musk discussed that the overloaded Mars mission will also be carried out in 2024, but for now, this goal seems to be very unrealistic (like most of his schedule).

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