Ambitious and crazy Elon musk plans to colonize Mars in the next century

Elon Musk dreams of colonization of Mars. In these dreams he began to take in the early 2000-ies, when he founded the private space company SpaceX. But what was the surprise and disappointment at the same time young at the time still a millionaire when he learned that the state space Agency NASA is absolutely no effort in order to one day deliver humans to the Red planet, thereby reserving for humanity, more space for survival if the Earth will become a scorched desert (and judging by recent forecasts, it appears).

In General, since then, Musk has managed to develop some impressive aerospace systems: Falcon 1 is the first orbital rocket company; Grasshopper is a small test rocket, Falcon 9 – reusable launch vehicle orbital class; the Dragon series of space trucks (in the short term manned spacecraft that will be used to deliver NASA astronauts to orbit the Earth); and the Falcon Heavy super-heavy carrier rocket sent to space travel , riding on the electric car Tesla (car Mask) mannequin in the prototype spacesuit of the future, also developed by SpaceX.

However, Mars is the purpose of a different caliber. It is a cold, almost airless and unforgiving the huge piece of stone, but rather a giant desert, located about 225 million miles from Earth. In order to land on the Red planet, even a small spacecraft at the current level of technology requires a huge effort and incredible ingenuity. What can we say about a giant spaceship filled with people and cargo? That is why SpaceX the last 16 years systematically, slowly gained experience, expanded the staff and increased the volume of investments in development of technologies of money. All, to begin construction of a giant rocket Big Falcon Rocket or BFR.

Fully reusable, 117-meter space system will consist of two huge stages: approximately 18-story spaceship Big Spaceship and Falcon about the same size of the accelerator Big Falcon Booster. The carrier will display the spacecraft into low earth orbit, where its course it will reach the destination, and then, after refueling, be reused.

Timing – it ignoble, especially when it comes to manned space flights, but very bold predictions Mask on when SpaceX will be able to deliver humans to Mars, reflect how the entrepreneur obsessed with this idea.

Time (largely controversial) the tasks presented below are based on earlier statements by the Mask, SpaceX officials, insiders, and the vast community of fans of the private space company that lives on Reddit.

Current progress of development plans associated with Mars

A schematic depiction of a system with a Big Falcon Rocket booster and a space ship

Musk said earlier that the spacecraft BFR – “the most difficult” in the implementation space system, so the company is currently busy trying to focus around it all their available resources. For example, SpaceX began construction of a plant about 15 kilometers from the port of Los Angeles, where it will assemble the BFR. While under construction, the company engineers are creating a prototype of a spacecraft with an area of 1860 square meters, which is made using advanced carbon materials.

Moreover, SpaceX officials are meeting with NASA employees, as well as representatives of other organizations and companies for discussion of plans related to missions to Mars. Many questions remain unresolved. For example, you need to figure out how to protect passengers BFR from radiation, hunger, as well as from themselves.

2018: construction of a spaceport in Texas

Company need its own spaceport not only for launching rockets, the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, but also to test the launch prototypes of their designs. The choice in favor of Texas as the place for the construction of the cosmodrome is due to several factors.

First, SpaceX will be able to transport the giant of the rocket to the Assembly from Los Angeles in the water by barge through the Panama canal. Otherwise, the details will have to transport by plane or truck, which is estimated to be significantly more expensive.

Second, in the vicinity of the place (the village of Boca Chica), to house the launch site, almost nobody lives, which is very good for companies planning to fill the experimental space ship with all sorts of different hazardous liquids, and then another, and try to launch it into space.

Thirdly, the construction of the spaceport financial support of the authorities of Texas, as the launch site must grant the state many of the new jobs.

Besides, missiles in this case you can run over the Gulf of Mexico, which will further reduce the risk to people, as well as various ground infrastructure. It’s possible that the launch pad will generally stay in the water.

“Actually, I’m inclined to producing launches from a floating platform,” Musk said in September of this year.

And finally the final reason is that the site of the future spaceport is located in the southernmost part of the United States. The closer to the equator will produce runs, the more effective will be able to save fuel rockets, since the rotation of the planet will give a significant aid in acceleration during the runs.

2019: the debut of a spaceship Big Falcon Spaceship

The President and CEO of SpaceX, Gwynne Shotwell said that the company hopes to hold a test launch of a prototype ship from southern Texas to the end of 2019. The launch will be orbital not – the machine will start and then immediately go to jail. The main task is to check the operation of the prototype and the collection of information that will be incorporated in the further development of the system.

As the experience of many earlier test launches of SpaceX test launch may turn out to prototype Big Falcon Spaceship “rapid and unplanned analysis apparatus”, as he likes to call Musk the explosions of their rockets.

2020-2021 years: test run complete system BFR and output the ship into orbit

During the international exhibition and conference on satellite industry Satellite 2018 held in March Shotwell talked about the fact that BFRS “should be orbital in 2020”. In other words, SpaceX President was referring to the fact that the accelerator, and the spacecraft will be delivered to Texas, gathered together and prepared for orbital launch.

However, in September, Musk said that for this stage the time frame is not yet defined. At the same time, the head of SpaceX said that they would like to spend a few unmanned orbital test flight before letting people on Board BFR.

2022: launch of two Mars missions with payload (without people)

Musk once said that “dreams” to send the first mission to Mars using rockets BFR in 2022. Each ship is supposed to be first to make a flyby around the Earth and use the entire supply of fuel. Then each space ship will leave the tankers to re-fill the machines, and then they will go to Mars. It is unclear how many space launches and most importantly the time required to solve such tasks.

Approximately every two years the distance between Mars and Earth is minimal, which creates an opportunity for us to get to the red planet. On this basis the best time to launch will be the summer of 2022. Depending on how Big Falcon Spaceship to change its velocity, a flight to Mars can take from several months to a year. Thus the spacecraft landing on the surface of Mars may take place either in late 2022 or early 2023.

2022-2023 years: landing the first spacecraft Big Falcon Spaceship to Mars

The first flights to Mars, Musk wants to send is not empty ships. It is expected that as the payload of the first ships to Mars will take the supplies and equipment that will be necessary in future missions to the Red planet.

People who will go to Mars in a future mission to build the first Martian settlement will require power sources, equipment for water extraction, as well as systems for the processing of local resources into fuel and oxygen that will be required to return back to Earth.

Floor Worcester, lead engineer, Mars missions, SpaceX is in August 2018 shared some details on how will be held the first flight to the Red planet. Worcester said that the first two unmanned cargo missions “will be confirmed by the presence of water supplies in those regions of the planet that currently has a key interest; will be determined by the difficulty of landing for future missions, and laid the first parts of the future Martian infrastructure.” For example, will be built a landing pad for a safe arrival of manned missions.

2023: sending people to the BFR rocket around the moon

In September of this year, Musk introduced the world’s first space tourist for the future of SpaceX. They became a Japanese billionaire Yusaku of Maezawa. How many Maezawa paid for the right to become the first passenger rocket BFR is a commercial secret. But the speech most likely goes about a few hundred million dollars. Moreover, Maezawa bought all the seats on a spaceship and plans to invite 6 to 8 people of creative professions in the framework they created the art project #dearMoo who will fly with him to the moon in 2023.

This mission will be convincing evidence that the concept of the rocket BFR works.

“He’s not just paying a huge sum of money in order to help in the development of the vehicle and the accelerator. He pays for the opportunity for the average person in the future to fly to other planets,” commented Musk in September.

2024: sending the first man to Mars

Given the success of the first cargo and reconnaissance missions SpaceX plans to send one or two manned missions to Mars.

According to Worcester, each ship will carry a “of at least 100 tons of various supplies”. Deliver to Mars more supplies and heavy equipment than may be required for any team in the framework of the annual mission on the red planet, SpaceX will be able to offset the need for advanced (read “not yet available”) technology, which otherwise would need to be able to stay on Mars.

2025: the first landing of a man

As in the case of the first unmanned missions to Mars manned spacecraft will be six to nine months to reach the red planet.

In August of this year, Worcester said that the first ships are likely to serve as homes for astronauts. The conditions are not the most comfortable, but the use of vehicles thus can simplify the complexity of the mission, eliminating the need for immediate construction of a Martian dwelling.

2028: completion of construction of the dwelling Mars Base Alpha

Someone asked Mask to “tweet” about how much time it will take to build the first permanent Martian base, early concepts which he shared before. Musk said that the base “will probably be ready in 2028”.

Developing this theme, the Masks, revealed in March, which will be followed by the creation of the first Martian colony.

“It will start with the construction of the basic infrastructure of the station for fuel extraction, power plant, greenhouses for growing food – all the necessary basic things without which you cannot survive,” said Musk.

“This will bring business and opportunities.”

Perhaps the 2030s years: the construction of the first Martian city

The Martian colony in the presentation of Elon musk

If most of the things mentioned above may seem something fantastic, it is written below will seem to be something on the verge of fantasy.

We note immediately that the experts of the systems to put it mildly doubt that necessary for landing a man and his survival on the surface of Mars technology, not to mention the technology to build a city to colonize soon after, will be ready by 2020. But that is what he wants to do Masks. Well, or at least start putting that in his view there may be more.

“I think people will start to think about creating a civilization on Mars as a realistic goal. We are talking not only about humanity but also about caring for all life that we know of,” said Musk in 2017.

In the dream – sending about a million people to Mars to the cost of a one-way ticket at the level of $ 200,000. According to the head of SpaceX, but this price is quite achievable, given the hypothetical potential of mnogorazovogo BFR. At the same time, Musk believes that life on Mars in the distant future will differ little from the earth.

“On Mars. Ranging from foundries and finishing with pizza. I think there will be Mars bars”.

2100 years: territorialnye Mars in templatebuy planet

Almost every open to job seekers at SpaceX jobs noted “the key purpose of creating possibilities of life on Mars”. On the careers page there is a picture of the red planet, acquiring earth-like appearance. Interestingly, it is not necessarily talking about fantasies. Inside an academic environment is really discussed the idea of terraforming planets.

Terraforming, if we talk in simple words, is the process of climate change, but is happening much faster than has been happening to our Earth during its evolution. Our planet was once quite different from today’s. It was more like a flaming volcano. On the transformation of the planet and its transformation from a volcano in a lush garden with the seas and oceans from nature took millions of years. Terraforming, in theory, will allow it to make just a few hundred, max a thousand years.

The idea that Mars once from dry, barren desert will become a flourishing Apple orchard (as is sung in the same old song), can not cast a spell. If we can find a way to break the existing poles of the planet the ice caps are rich in carbon, it may start the process of terraforming.

In the current state of the atmospheric pressure of Mars is less than 1% of the earth. In such circumstances, it is rather similar to the vacuum chamber than in a suitable place for life. Mars has almost no atmosphere, so cosmic radiation almost seamlessly reaches its surface. No special equipment and very secure suits people here will not survive. No colonies here and speech cannot be.

It’s unclear if you could have a terraformed Mars in a relatively short time. According to experts of NASA, it is impossible in principle, because the poles of the planet sharpened not so much gas to create a new atmosphere. But this topic is still under discussion and have not come to final conclusions.

From one atmosphere will be of little use. If the planet is a magnetic field, the atmosphere will disappear again as quickly as it appears as a result of terraforming. To solve the problem require the use of special and very powerful orbital spacecraft or even a group of vehicles that will be able to generate around the planet’s magnetic shield, which will protect the surface from solar radiation, which blows away the atmosphere.

Some scientists also point out that the question of supplies of water and methane, we pay attention only to surface sources and does not consider the possibility of the existence of large stockpiles of these substances in the bowels of the planet. Whether in the depths contain these substances is an issue that requires more careful study.

Among the other ideas proposed terraforming the bombing of the planet redirected to it by asteroids and comets, rich in the necessary chemical components. So musk is actually offered lose to the Red planet a couple of thermonuclear weapons.

Only experiments will allow to know whether a particular method of terraforming. Who knows, maybe the Mask or his followers in the distant future someday will be able to conduct such checks.

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