Cargo ships will be sent to Mars in five yrs: SpaceX’s Musk

Mid Day - - WORLD -

Fu­tur­ist and in­ven­tor Elon Musk un­veiled am­bi­tious plans on Fri­day to send cargo ships to Mars in five years and use rock­ets to carry peo­ple be­tween Earth’s ma­jor cities in un­der half-an-hour.

The founder of SpaceX said a planned in­ter­plan­e­tary trans­port sys­tem, code-named Big Fuck­ing Rocket (BFR), would be down­sized so it could carry out a range of tasks that would then pay for fu­ture Mars mis­sions.

“The most important thing... is that I think we have fig­ured out how to pay for BFR,” Musk told a packed au­di­to­rium at a global gath­er­ing of space ex­perts in Ade­laide. “Which is to have a smaller ve­hi­cle, it’s still pretty big, but one that can... do ev­ery­thing that’s needed in the greater Earth or­bit ac­tiv­ity.”

Musk said his firm had start­ing build­ing the sys­tem, with the con­struc­tion of the first ship to start in six to nine months. “I feel fairly con­fi­dent that we can com­plete the ship and launch in about five years,” he added. At least two cargo ships would land on the Red Planet in 2022, with the key mis­sion of find­ing the best source of water , he said. The rock­ets would place power, min­ing and life-sup­port in­fra­struc­ture on Mars to sup­port fu­ture mis­sions, with four ships set to take peo­ple, equip­ment and sup­plies to the planet in 2024.

More than 60 Ro­hingya Mus­lim refugees from Myan­mar are be­lieved to have drowned when their boat cap­sized, the lat­est vic­tims in what the United Na­tions says is the world’s fastest-de­vel­op­ing refugee emer­gency.

The refugees drowned in heavy seas off Bangladesh late on Thurs­day, part of a new surge of peo­ple flee­ing a Myan­mar mil­i­tary cam­paign that be­gan on Au­gust 25 and has trig­gered an ex­o­dus of some 502,000 peo­ple. In­ter­na­tional anger over the cri­sis is grow­ing.

In New York, US Am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions

PIC/AFP

Lock­heed Martin’s hu­man space­flight strat­egy chief Rob Cham­bers (C), sys­tem ar­chi­tect Tim Cichan (R) and sys­tems engi­neer Danielle Ritchey (L) at­tend a press con­fer­ence in Ade­laide on Fri­day.

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