Jan 19 (Business Insider) – In a series of tweets on Thursday, Elon Musk revealed new details about his plan to build a city of 1 million people on Mars by 2050.
Musk said he hoped to build 1,000 Starships — the towering and ostensibly fully reusable spaceship that SpaceX is developing in South Texas — over 10 years. That’s 100 Starships per year.
Eventually, Musk added, the goal is to launch an average of three Starships per day and make the trip to Mars available to anybody.
“Needs to be such that anyone can go if they want, with loans available for those who don’t have money,” Musk wrote.
Not enough to convince you to leave Earth behind?
“There will be a lot of jobs on Mars!” he added.
Fleets of Starships to make humans multiplanetary
Starship, if realized as designed, would be the most powerful launch system ever created; each launch would pack enough thrust to send more than 100 tons (about seven fully loaded school buses’ worth of mass) and 100 people into orbit at a time.
Musk didn’t specify what exactly the rockets would need to carry to Mars, but a lot of food, water, building materials, tools, and advanced life-support systems are a given. Thus, he estimated he would need a whole fleet of Starships to build a permanent settlement.
“Megatons per year to orbit are needed for life to become multiplanetary,” he tweeted on Thursday.
In total, 1,000 Starships could hypothetically transport about 100 megatons of stuff to Mars; that’s the volume Musk has said he hopes to send to the red planet per year. With each ship ferrying about 100 passengers, that would make for a total migration of about 100,000 people.
Musk also suggested he planned to capitalize on the brief windows of time that the orbits of Earth and Mars align — which come about every 25 months. That allows spacecraft to spring off of Earth’s rotation and set themselves on a low-fuel journey toward Mars.
Musk said he would take advantage of that opportunity by “loading the Mars fleet into Earth orbit,” then sending all 1,000 ships on a Mars-bound trajectory over that 30-day window every 26 months.
That seems to contradict an earlier tweet in which Musk said 1,000 Starships would fly to Mars each year, rather than every 26 months. Either way, SpaceX has a long way to go before reaching those goals.