The reality of living on Mars is about to arrive much sooner than people originally assumed, at least if Elon Musk has any say about it.
In Guadalajara on Tuesday, Musk gave a complete outline of his plan to colonize Mars while speaking at the annual space exploration conference International Astronautical Federation, which was created during the Cold War.
It is set to happen before this century ends. In fact, Musk believes that the first launch could be as soon as 2022.
After a number of years following the first small team of humans landing on Mars, more people will make the journey over, but the team will have already set the red planet up to look more like Earth by then.
According to Musk, the self-sustaining city on Mars will need one million people, who will reach the planet through the launch of 1,000 ships.
His vision is to make humans a multi-planetary species, so humankind could survive even an extinction on Earth. He said,
This is about minimizing existential risk and having a sense of adventure. It's about ensuring the light of consciousness is not extinguished, which I think is really important. … The probable lifespan of human civilization will be much greater if we are a multi-planetary species. But the argument I find most compelling is it would be an incredible adventure. Life needs to be more than solving problems every day. You need to wake up and be inspired.
Musk is hoping to lower the price of a trip to Mars to about the price of a house in America, around $200,000.
However, the first Martians will not only have to have sufficient funds, they would also need to have the know how when it comes to construction as well as the right mindset for such an adventure.
The first team would build pressurized domes to protect from the harsh climate and atmosphere. Then, larger domes would host farms.
SpaceX wants to transport thousands of people a year.
The ship, which will be fueled three to five times off of Earth, will be so large that Musk promises even to include "pizza joints." Hey, give me a slice and you know I'm there! He promises,
It's got to be fun and exciting. It can't feel cramped or boring. It will be, like, really fun to go.
However, it is dangerous.
Even Curiosity, the biggest Mars rover weighing in at 1,982 pounds, needed parachutes and a sky crane to land safely. Parachutes cannot serve as a backup considering Mars' thin atmosphere, which means mistakes are not an option.
Even while leaving Earth, people are exposed to radiation, which can cause cancer, not to mention cosmic rays and solar flares.
It's possible that this dream is real; not just a dream, but something that can be made real.
Regardless of the dangers, it would feel pretty bad ass to be one of the first Martians...