Ingenious innovator and entrepreneur, Elon Musk recently responded to NASA's announcement of planing to put a man on Mars by 2035. The CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX claims he'll be able to make a manned mission to Mars in the next 12 years. For Musk, pushing the envelope is nothing new; and space exploration is not just a demonstration of power, but is vital to the long-term survival of the human race. His goal is "to develop the technology to transport millions of people to Mars, which will preserve the future of humanity in the case of a calamity on Earth." With the Sun expected to expand and turn Earth into an inhospitable, charred rock in the next 500 million or 1 billion years, Musk is fully aware of the need to form "human civilization on multiple planets."
Since founding SpaceX in 2002, Musk has invested over $100 million out of pocket and has successfully sent its 'Dragon' spacecraft to the International Space Station. SpaceX, headquartered in southern California, focuses on building reusable space shuttles, which greatly reduce the overall project costs. Musk's vision for his space program isn't about sending a few, highly-trained specialists to the 'Red Planet,' but to establish self-sustaining cities with affordable travel costs for regular people. NASA has sent multiple rovers to Mars, but doesn't plan to send astronauts for another two decades. To Musk, "a future where we are a space-faring civilization is a far more exciting and inspiring future than one where we are not."
As you may remember, Elon Musk was a Keynote speaker at SXSW Interactive in 2013, where he described his plans for the future of SpaceX. He provides an insight into the ideas behind his ambitions, and why "engineering is the closest thing to magic on this world." With his SpaceX program, Musk hopes he'll be able to one day "die on Mars, just not on impact!" Watch the full session here : Elon Musk at SXSW Interactive '13. "Through Apollo, we all went to the Moon, vicariously," but soon actually going to Mars may be a reality.
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This post was written by Henry Heuck
Photo by Kevin McGehearty