New Delhi: Elon Musk has made it clear that he wants humans to reach Mars. The computer mogul has been pursuing the ambition for several decades, and it appears that his aerospace company, SpaceX, will soon make it a reality. When do you think it will be done? According to Musk, this will happen in the next five to ten years.
Musk was asked the same question in a recent interview: “When do you believe SpaceX will land a human on Mars?” Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk responded by saying that in the best-case scenario, SpaceX might land a man on Mars within the next five years. In the worst-case situation, this may last another ten years.
This is still laudable, given that the debate is about sending a living, breathing human to the surface of another planet, a prospect that would have been laughed at if we had lived just half a century ago. Now, we have large, towering rockets like SpaceX’s Starship, which may soon make Musk’s and others’ dreams a reality.
It’s not like Musk was exaggerating his optimism. Musk paused for ten seconds after podcaster Lex Fridman asked him the question during the interview. “Best case is about five years,” he said, “worst case is roughly ten years,” statements that piqued the interest of all space aficionados.
This isn’t the first time Musk has alluded to a timescale for human colonisation of Mars. “I’ll be astonished if we don’t land on Mars within five years,” Musk said in an interview with Time magazine earlier this month. Since then, it appears that the timeline has been made significantly more accurate.
It should be emphasised, though, that Musk is well-known for missing deadlines for his projects. Rightfully so, for his objectives are frequently regarded as borderline irrational, at least until the public witnesses his accomplishments. One such ambition is to land a man on Mars. It’s another thing entirely to build a rocket large enough to do so.
Musk seemed to be in charge of the second half. In a recent interview, he discussed how “rocket engineering” is one of the variables for the huge undertaking. He used the opportunity to praise Starship, describing it as “the most intricate and advanced rocket that’s ever been built.” He described it as “really next level.”
The level of optimization on Starship, according to Musk, is critical for this mission. Musk claimed that the rocket can reduce the cost per tonne every orbit “and ultimately cost per tonne to the surface of Mars.”
This will be critical to the mission’s success. Of course, this isn’t the only element that will influence a manned mission to Mars. Musk, as well as other agencies involved in the project, appear to have plenty of time to work it all out.