Many of us are excited about the first manned mission to Mars, and for good reason. For one thing, it will be an equally, if not greater achievement than the moon landing, and second of all, it would mark the dawn of a new age of space exploration. But we still don’t know when it’s going to happen.
While NASA is planning on sending the first people to Mars sometime in the 2030s, other parties are planning an earlier mission. I’m talking of course about the multibillionaire in charge of several large companies including Tesla, PayPal, and SpaceX, but exactly how plausible are Elon Musk’s SpaceX Martian goals?
First of all, what’s Elon Musk’s plan? Well, he plans on sending the first manned mission to Mars by 2025, and by then he’s also planning on going on board the ISS without too much training. That says a lot about the man, but it only adds to the mystery surrounding this visionary billionaire. Depending on whom you ask, he can either be the Lex Luthor or the Ray Palmer of our generation.
But his plan has at least some limitations. According to everyone’s favorite astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, return investment is one of the biggest flaws in Musk’s plan. First of all, the mission would be insanely expensive. Second of all, it would be particularly dangerous without anybody going there beforehand. And last but not least, being the first to send people to the red planet wouldn’t actually be any reason to get back some of the money spent.
Money truly matters
But as many point out, Musk does have the money to spare. Despite several failed ventures and quite a lot of money lost, he doesn’t seem to be too affected by it. And if he wants something, he will most likely go out of his way to get it done (as shown by the fact that he refused to sell Tesla cars to one of his one-time critics).
So, two of the three points made by Tyson kind of fall apart because of the billionaire’s great wealth, but does that actually mean that he will be able to send a manned mission to Mars five to ten years before NASA?
So is it going to happen?
Well, he very well may. Musk went into a little bit of detail surrounding his plans for Mars, talking about his vision for a city on the red planet and about how most investors are hesitant on funding such long-standing goals. But he also said that the company is going to be performing regular flights to Mars by then.
And even if he isn’t going to follow through on his statements and get NASA involved in the first flight he has planned for Mars, Musk and his company are definitely helping everybody interested in the endeavor by creating and perfecting technology that brings us one step closer to intergalactic exploration.
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