Elon Musk, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX), speaks on the final day of the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia, on Sept. 29, 2017. SpaceX unveiled its plans to put humans on Mars as early as 2024 in Australia on Friday.
Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) unveiled its plans to put humans on Mars as early as 2024 in Australia on Friday.
Speaking on the final day of the 68th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, South Australia, SpaceX founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Elon Musk provided further details of the company's plan to put humans on Mars.
Musk, who also serves as the CEO of automotive company Tesla, said SpaceX was aiming for cargo missions to the "red planet" in 2022 and crew with cargo by 2024.
He said that missions to Mars would be launched every two years from 2022 onwards with colonization and terraforming to begin as soon as the first humans arrive in order to make it "a really nice place to be."
"It's about believing in the future, and thinking that the future will be better than the past," Musk said.
SpaceX also announced its new BFR rocket on Friday.
"I can't emphasize enough how profound this is, and how important this is," Musk told the congress as the keynote speaker on the final day.
The new BFR has the highest capacity payload of any rocket ever built, meaning it has the lowest launch cost, due to its status as a fully reusable rocket while also being the most powerful.
"It's really crazy that we build these sophisticated rockets and then crash them every time we fire," Musk said.
He said that the new BFR could carry a 40-carriage spaceship to Mars with two or three people occupying each carriage.
The rocket is capable of flying from Earth to the Moon and back without refuelling, making creating a base on the Moon, dubbed Moon Base Alpha, achievable in near future.
SpaceX intends for the new, scaled-down BFR to replace its other flagship rockets, the Dragon, Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy.
Musk said the BFR could even be used for international flights on Earth, promising to cut most long-distance Earth flights to just half an hour.
He said the rocket could travel from New York City to Shanghai in 37 minutes at a maximum speed of 18,000 miles (28,968 km) per hour.
"Most of what people would consider long-distance trips would be completed in less than half an hour," Musk said.
"If we're building this thing to go to the Moon and Mars, then why not go to other places on Earth as well?"
But he said that other applications for the BFR were stepping-stones for the project's main purpose of taking settlers to Mars.
Funding for BFR development will come from SpaceX's satellite and International Space Station (ISS) revenue.
SpaceX's announcement came hours after U.S. defense, security and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin revealed new technology that would see it land on Mars in partnership with NASA by 2030.
SpaceX estimated this year that a permanent, self-sustaining colony on Mars was 50 to 100 years away.
Friday's press conference took place on the ninth anniversary of SpaceX's Falcon 1 rocket becoming the first privately-developed liquid fuel rocket to enter Earth's orbit.