SpaceX harbours astronomical ambitions. The Elon Musk-owned company has already revolutionised space travel with its reusable rockets. And SpaceX now has set its sights on sending mankind to Mars and back – but at a colossal cost.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk hopes to send humans to Mars and back by 2024.
And Mr Musk has today revealed how a two-way ticket to Red Planet will allow “most people in advanced economies” to swap Earth for a move to Mars.
Elon Musk has outlined his confidence that the cost of moving to Mars will one day cost £390,000 ($500,000) for a return ticket.
But this eye-watering cost could eventually fall to below £78,000 ($100,000).
Musk explained how these figures are “very dependent on volume.”
The comments on costs comes as SpaceX works to complete the Starship, a fully-reusable stainless steel vehicle designed to comfortably transport around 100 humans to Mars and even beyond.
Musk also believes “there’s a path” to building the Starship for less than the Falcon 9 SpaceX, currently used to launch satellites into space, estimated to cost $62 million.
Expense was a major factor in switching to stainless steel.
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Carbon fibre costs $200 per kilogram, compared to just $3 for stainless steel.
The Starship uses liquid oxygen and methane to power its Raptor engines.
This allows mankind to manufacture more fuel via propellant plants on Mars.
Part of Elon Musk’s SpaceX strategy is to make moving to Mars as attractive as possible.
This is because Mars will require large numbers of people to help develop a sustainable colony.
Musk said in 2016 that “Mars would have labour shortage for a long time so jobs wouldn’t be in short supply.”
To make such an offer to relocate attractive, Musk revealed SpaceX would need to slash the cost of migrating to the average cost of a home in the US – around $200,000.
And Musk said that hitting this target, would mean “the probability of establishing a self-sustaining civilisation is very high.”
Starship’s trip to Mars would most likely take somewhere around three to six months.
SpaceX’s 2017 design for the Starship included a cargo area with 825 cubic metres and 40 cabins fit for six – making 240 people in total.
The first visitors would be tasked with setting up infrastructure, from recycling centre, energy manufacture, roading building before turning their attention to mass accommodation.
In a cause for celebration for the Mars program, SpaceX this month completed a test firing of its Raptor engine.
SpaceX now plans to complete short “hop tests” with a miniature Starship “hopper” design before targeting an orbital prototype for 2020.