Musk: Next rocket will fly to Mars or on Earth

Tampa Bay Times - - Business - Wash­ing­ton Post

For years, Elon Musk has been fo­cused on build­ing a colony on Mars. It’s why he founded SpaceX in 2002, and it has been the driv­ing force be­hind it ever since.

But dur­ing a speech in Ade­laide, Aus­tralia, on Fri­day morn­ing, Musk said he has dra­mat­i­cally ex­panded his al­ready-out­size am­bi­tions. In ad­di­tion to help­ing cre­ate a city on the Red Planet, he said the next rocket he in­tends to build would also be ca­pa­ble of help­ing cre­ate a base camp on the moon — and fly­ing peo­ple across the globe.

“It’s 2017, we should have a lu­nar base by now,” he said dur­ing a 40minute speech at the In­ter­na­tional Astro­nau­ti­cal Congress.

In a sur­prise twist, he also said the mas­sive rocket and space­ship, which would have more pres­sur­ized pas­sen­ger space than an Air­bus A380 air­plane, could also fly pas­sen­gers any­where on Earth in less than an hour. Trav­el­ing at a max­i­mum speed of more than 18,000 mph, a trip from New York to Shang­hai, for ex­am­ple, would take 39 min­utes, he said. New York to Lon­don could be done in 29 min­utes.

“If we’re build­ing this thing to go to the moon and Mars, why not go other places as well?” he said.

The speech was billed as an up­date to one he gave a year ago, in which he pro­vided de­tails for how SpaceX would make hu­man­ity a “multi-planet species.”

At the speech a year ago, Musk un­veiled a be­he­moth of a rocket that was so am­bi­tious that crit­ics said it was de­tached from re­al­ity. Now, he and his team at SpaceX have done some edit­ing, and Musk pre­sented a re­vised plan early Fri­day to build a mas­sive, but more rea­son­ably sized, rocket that he calls the BFR, or Big (ex­ple­tive) Rocket.

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