Just days ago, Elon Musk released more details on SpaceX’s mission to Mars. In a questionnaire, Musk revealed that the Mars voyage would have the primary goal of creating a self-sustaining colony on Mars. Musk states that the process will start with two cargo ships being sent to Mars in 2022. The passengers of the two ships will then confirm water sources and identify any existing hazards. They will then place power, mining, and life support infrastructure for future flights. If the mission proves to be a successful, Musk plans to send two more cargo ships accompanied by two crewed ships in 2024. The reason for this two year wait is because every two years, Earth and Mars will align, or synchronize, in the solar system. This period of synchronization will be when the distance between the two planets are shortest, thus allowing travel.
The second mission will have the goal of building a propellant production plant and setting up a permanent base on Mars. Musk states that by this point, there should be enough resources on the planet to construct a large array of solar panels to fuel the colony. The propellant production plant, according to Musk, will go a long way towards creating a self-sustaining colony by providing future travellers a reliable source of power. As Musk describes it, “Our goal is get you there and ensure the basic infrastructure for propellant production and survival is in place. A rough analogy is that we are trying to build the equivalent of the transcontinental railway. A vast amount of industry will need to be built on Mars by many other companies and millions of people.”
From there, Musk plans on beginning the final construction on a city surrounding the existing base. In addition to that, Musk went as far as to say that the colony would have basic access to a simplified version of the internet. Because of this, Musk states that there is the possibility that one could still use social media on Mars due to the three to 22 minutes it takes for data to go from Mars to Earth. Looking at Musk’s plan, it seems as though science fiction might not be far from reality.