Mil­lion peo­ple on Mars

The Advertiser - - NEWS - TORY SHEP­HERD

A ROCKET that could al­low you to have break­fast in Run­dle St and lunch at Lon­don’s Har­rods is on its way, en­tre­pre­neur Elon Musk vowed in Ade­laide yes­ter­day.

He says his “Big F....... Rocket” will be able to fly any­where in the world in un­der an hour for the cost of an econ­omy ticket, and will also take Earth­lings to the Moon and Mars. The BFR will carry 100 peo­ple, with two or three to a cabin.

Mr Musk’s long-awaited mis­sion up­date at the In­ter­na­tional As­tro­nau­ti­cal Congress in­cluded more de­tail on the rocket’s tech­nol­ogy, and his plans to build a moon base and a city on Mars.

Some in­sid­ers at the con­fer­ence have se­ri­ous doubts about Mr Musk’s plans, con­sid­er­ing them too am­bi­tious and risky. But there is over­whelm­ing op­ti­mism from oth­ers about his planned In­ter­plan­e­tary Trans­port Sys­tem.

Mr Musk wants to build a city on Mars with an even­tual pop­u­la­tion of a mil­lion — and he says he can start send­ing cargo as soon as 2022 — years ear­lier than pre­vi­ously es­ti­mated. “It’s as­pi­ra­tional,” he said. “We can be ready for a launch in about five years. Five years seems like a long time to me.” The crowd of as­tro­nauts and rocket sci­en­tists cheered when he said a base on the Moon was past due. “It’s 2017. We should have a lu­nar base by now. What the hell is go­ing on?”

The BFR could also zip peo­ple around the Earth. Mr Musk said most trips would be un­der 30 min­utes. Syd­ney to Dubai would be 40 min­utes; and Mel­bourne to Sin­ga­pore half an hour. Lock­heed Martin is work­ing on a more sober plan with NASA to send hu­mans to Mars by about 2028.

They de­tailed their planned Mars Base Camp at the IAC, which along with NASA’s planned Deep Space Gate­way will al­low as­tro­nauts to ex­per­i­ment and test sys­tems be­fore end­ing up on Mars.

Rob Cham­bers, di­rec­tor of Lock­heed Martin’s Hu­man Space­flight Strat­egy, said Mars Base Camp was about “more than hu­man­ity’s great­est ad­ven­ture”. “It’s about science,” he said. “An­swer­ing fun­da­men­tal ques­tions that sci­en­tists have been ask­ing for hun­dreds of years. Where did we come from, where are we go­ing, and are we alone?”

Mean­while, launch test­ing and space qual­i­fi­ca­tion mis- sions are set to hap­pen in SA, Space In­dus­tries Min­is­ter Martin Hamilton-Smith says.

He has an­nounced a part­ner­ship with start-up com­pa­nies to es­tab­lish fa­cil­i­ties here for a range of space-re­lated in­dus­tries.

He said on Fri­day the SA Space In­no­va­tion Com­plex con­sor­tium will be a part­ner­ship be­tween the State Gov­ern­ment and pri­vate in­dus­try such as Fleet Space Tech­nolo­gies, who are de­vel­op­ing nano-satel­lites. Mr Hamilton-Smith said dis­cus­sions were un­der­way with busi­nesses that work with space launches, ro­bot­ics and rock­etry. 500 peo­ple in a tem­po­rary night­club with the com­pany’s bat­tery packs seen from a view­ing plat­form.

Me­dia ac­cess to the site was strictly con­trolled, as dig­ni­taries in­clud­ing Pre­mier Jay Weather­ill and in­dus­try Min­is­ter Tom Kout­san­to­nis mixed with stake­hold­ers in a fes­tive at­mos­phere.

In­tro­duc­ing Mr Musk, a tri­umphant Mr Weather­ill said those who had joked about SA’s frag­ile power sys­tem “are laugh­ing out of the other side of their faces now”.

A con­tract has been signed with elec­tric­ity sup­plier Elec­tranet. A Tesla spokes­woman said last night that the Aus­tralian En­ergy Mar­ket Op­er­a­tor had ap­proved the “in­ter­con­nec­tion agree­ment”.

Pic­ture: DY­LAN COKER

UP AND AWAY: An artist’s im­pres­sion of how one of Elon Musk’s planned SpaceX rock­ets will look.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.