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SpaceX plans manned Mars missions by 2022

Sep 28, 2016, 6:26 AM EDT
SpaceX founder Elon Musk
(Source: Tesla Club Belgium/flickr)

Speaking at an international space conference in Mexico on Tuesday, SpaceX founder Elon Musk shared his company’s highly ambitious plan of sending manned missions to Mars by 2022. Musk spoke about the company’s Interplanetary Transport System (I.T.S.), which comprises powerful, reusable rockets and a spaceship with the capacity to carry at least 100 people to the Red Planet in each flight.

At the event, Musk said the humans have two options today- to either stay on Earth, waiting for an inevitable extinction or to evolve into a “spacefaring, multi-planetary species,” reports The Guardian. As Musk revealed his grand plans of interplanetary transit, questions emerged as to how the company will fund the project, in which the current cost of sending someone to Mars is estimated at “around $10bn per person.”

Musk, whose long-term goal is to “build a city on Mars,” didn’t provide any specific details about funding or operational specifics of the project, writes The Wall Street Journal. Many critics have already dismissed Musk’s notion that “market forces will drive humans to flock to Mars to set up a self-sustaining civilization,” describing his massive plan as a “science-fiction dream.”

In a video simulation, Musk unveiled his multi-stage launch and transport system, which consists of a reusable booster. The entrepreneur also outlined the plans to synthesize fuel on Mars using atmospheric water and carbon dioxide, which would power return journeys to Earth. 

TAGS: SpaceX