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Elon Musk’s Plan for Mars Is Really Vague But Definitely Expensive

Like any self-respecting space entrepreneur, Elon Musk has a plan for a Mars colony

This is NASA’s vision of Mars Travel. Image: NASA

At this point in his career, it would be ridiculous for Elon Musk, the entrepreneur whose companies are pioneering private space travel and creating the hottest electric cars out there, not to have a Mars colony plan. So, of course, like any self-respecting space entrepreneur, he does. His planned colony would hold about 80,000 people, charging each passenger $500,000 a trip to the red planet. Space.com reports:

 ”At Mars, you can start a self-sustaining civilization and grow it into something really big,” Musk told an audience at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London on Friday (Nov. 16). Musk was there to talk about his business plans, and to receive the Society’s gold medal for his contribution to the commercialization of space.

In Musk’s vision, the colony on Mars includes transparent domes, pressurized to Earth’s CO2 levels so that Mars pioneers could grow crops.  Those pioneers wouldn’t be numerous—maybe 10 people or less, in the first trip. Musk is still a bit vague about exactly how he’s planning on getting people to and from his new colony. Here’s Space.com again:

When asked by SPACE.com what vehicle would be used, he said, “I think you just land the entire thing.”

Asked if the “entire thing” is the huge new reusable rocket — which is rumored to bear the acronymic name MCT, short for Mass Cargo Transport or Mars Colony Transport — Musk said, “Maybe.”

Not nearly as complete as some other visions of Mars colonization.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Take Flight Over Mars
Who Would You Send on a One-Way Trip to Mars?

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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