SpaceX founder and lead designer, Elon Musk, has announced his intention to begin colonising Mars by 2022.
Announced at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in the South Australian capital of Adelaide, Musk’s plan includes a reusable spacecraft design called the “Big F—ing Rocket” (BFR), which was first unveiled during IAC 2016.
SpaceX hopes to launch its first mission to Mars in 2022, followed by four additional ships in 2024 (two carrying cargo, and two others carrying humans). Within 40 to 100 years, they expect to have put one million people on the planet.
“The future is vastly more exciting and interesting if we’re a space-faring species than if we’re not,” says Musk. “It’s about believing in the future and thinking the future will be better than the past.”
The BFR will be 100 metres tall with 31 engines, and will have the capacity to carry 4,000 tonnes. The interplanetary vehicle itself will be 48 metres long, and will be able to transport around 100 people.
A key benefit of the design and technology is its ability to be reused. This will decrease flight costs and make the project more affordable.
“It’s really crazy that we build these sophisticated rockets, and then crash them every time we fly,” says Musk. “This is mad.”
Cutting more costs, the system will also replace SpaceX’s current vehicles: Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon.
In addition to these plans, Musk announced a similar system that would allow commercial travel anywhere on Earth in under an hour.