|June Javelosa opines that each century has an individual that redefines our world, a person who transforms the way that we think and act, a person who fundamentally reshapes our understanding of ourselves and our place in the cosmos. This century, that man seems to be Elon Musk.|
He is the man behind Tesla Motors, SolarCity, and the Chief Executive of SpaceX, a company that has ushered us into the era of reusable rockets and which has made no secret of its intent to send people to Mars. Yes, SpaceX plans to create a permanent Martian settlement. Musk has made it clear that he thinks such a colonization project will ultimately save the human race.
To that end, the Musk plan includes the launch of the unmanned Red Dragon spacecraft by 2018, then sending a new and reusable rocket by 2022 (which will be powered by the just recently tested Raptor rocket), and eventually launching humans to Mars after that, hopefully landing by 2025.
However, much of the details still need to be worked out. And that is what brings us to a highly anticipated speech by Musk at the International Astronautical Congress held at Guadalajara, Mexico. He indicated that he would detail how he would make his lofty ambitions a reality, covering potential colonization systems and discussing the involvement of industry and governments that will dictate the project in the years to come.
He began by noting that going to Mars, becoming a multiplanetary species, is not merely a choice, it is a necessity. If we stay fixed on Earth forever, eventually there will be an extinction event that we can not anticipate, or otherwise manage, such as a large large asteroid(s), major volcanic eruptions or supervolcanoes, unmanageable plague, nuclear war, etc. The alternative is to become a spacefaring and multiplanetary species, that is what we need to do, sooner or later.
To that end, there are 4 key things that Musk centered on in order to get humanity to Mars.
Read on ...