Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of the private spaceflight company SpaceX, is aiming his sights towards starting a Mars colony of up to 80,000 people. To do this, Musk wants to ferry people to Mars at an estimated cost of $500,000 per person. Of course, this isn't the first time that Musk has talked about taking humans to Mars, but his plans are becoming more and more detailed as time goes on.
Musk's vision includes starting off with a pioneering group of around 10 people or less, and they would get to the Red Planet aboard a huge reusable rocket powered by liquid oxygen and methane. Going along for the ride would be large amounts of equipment, including machines to make fertilizer, methane, and oxygen. The machines would use the atmospheric nitrogen and carbon dioxide, as well as the planet's subsurface water ice as resources.
Musk estimates that the cost of a ticket to Mars would be around $500,000. Obviously, there's not a huge pool of people who can afford that, but Musk says that out of the eight billion people that will be living on Earth by the time the colony is possible, around one in 100,000 could afford to go (and would be willing to do so), which equates to potentially 80,000 people who could colonize Mars.
Musk is the billionaire founder behind a few well-known companies. He helped start up PayPal, and then moved on to establish Tesla Motors. Now, he's the founder and CEO of SpaceX, which recently completed a supply mission to the International Space Station. Musk's envisions his plans for the future of space flight as something that has never been done before, and he hopes to create a completely reusable spacecraft for as little as money as possible. The Dragon capsule was a good start, but Musk says he wants to create a better spacecraft for human flight.
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