Musk plans for of­f­world colonies

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS - TORY SHEP­HERD

A PLAN to have a Mars City of a mil­lion peo­ple has been out­lined in Ade­laide by bil­lion­aire en­tre­pre­neur Elon Musk as he also re­vealed his plans for a base on the moon.

He plans to use a rocket big­ger than an A380 plane to send 100 peo­ple at a time – with two or three peo­ple per cabin – to Mars.

Ul­ti­mately he hopes to cre­ate a sus­tain­able pop­u­la­tion of about a mil­lion.

Mr Musk said his com­pany SpaceX has be­gun se­ri­ous work on the BFR (Big F---ing Rocket) as he plans an In­ter­plan­e­tary Trans­port Sys­tem.

He is try­ing to drive down the cost by reusing parts and im­prov­ing tech­nol­ogy. But he also says he has an idea on how to pay for it all. And it can be as cheap as a plane ticket for a seat in econ­omy.

In Ade­laide for the In­ter­na­tional As­tro­nau­ti­cal Congress, he talked about hu­mans “be­com­ing a mul­ti­planet species”.

He has pre­vi­ously writ­ten that his­tory shows even­tu­ally we will meet a dooms­day sce­nario that will wipe us out, but to­day he said it was more as­pi­ra­tional. “I can’t think of any­thing more ex­cit­ing than be­ing out there among the stars,” he said.

He also said a lu­nar base was past due.

“It’s 2017. We should have a lu­nar base by now. What the hell is go­ing on?”

Mr Musk talked about the key tech­ni­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties SpaceX has been work­ing on, such as the space­ship ma­te­ria als and how to land per­fectly on the moon or Mars. He first re­vealed his plans to go t to Mars last year.

Mr Musk says SpaceX can l launch two cargo mis­sions by 2022; the es­ti­mate has pre­vi­ously been about a decade for the first Mars mis­sion.

Four more – in­clud­ing two manned trips – will fol­low two years later.

Mean­while, Lock­heed Martin – which is work­ing on a Mars project with NASA – has also up­dated its plans and re­vealed its con­cept of a Mars Base Camp. “To­day we have the ca­pa­bil­ity to make it a re­al­ity,” said Lisa Cal­la­han from Lock­heed Martin.

ROCKET MAN: Elon Musk.

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