Elon Musk releases details of plan to colonise mars – here’s what an expert thinks
The vision of the colonizing pieces of the solar system, including Mars, the moon Europa of Jupiter and Enceladus moon of Saturn. His Gung ho plans – designed to make the multi-planetary species human if civilization collapses – include launching flights to Mars since 2023.
The details, just published in the newspaper Nuevo Espacio is certainly ambitious. But are they realistic? As someone who works on the exploration of the solar system, and the new ESA Mars Rover in particular, I find it incredible in many ways.
First, do not reject musk as a dreamer of Silicon Valley. It was a big hit with rocket launches in space already. His article offers several interesting ways to try to reach Mars and beyond – and aims to build an “autonomous city” on the red planet.
The idea depends on cheaper access to space – the document states that travel expenses to Mars should be lowered “five million percent.” An important part of this will be a reusable space technology.
This is a great idea that musk is already practiced with breathtaking stages of landing rockets on Earth – certainly a great technological step.
Making fuel stations on Mars and beyond, which is something that aims to add feasible costs. About experiments are under way, which shows that choosing the right propeller is the key.
The MOXIE experience in the NASA rover in 2020 examines whether we can produce CO2 oxygen in the Mars atmosphere.
This may be possible. But musk would also make methane – which would be cheaper and more reusable. This is a sensitive reaction that requires a lot of energy.
But so far everything is quite feasible. But plans are getting more and more incredible. Musk wants to launch huge spacecraft in orbit around the Earth where it ravitaillis repeatedly using reinforcement thrown from the ground waiting to go to Mars.
Each will be designed to have 100 people and musk wants to launch 1000 such ships in the space of 40 to 100 years, allowing one million people to leave Earth.
There would also be fuel at interplanetary service stations such as Enceladus, Europe and even Saturn’s moon Titan where there may have been or still life.
The fuel is produced and stored on these moons. The purpose of these is to allow us to go deep space to places like the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud.
The capsule “Red Dragon” is proposed as a potential support of these missions, the use of propulsion in combination with other technologies instead of parachutes, like most missions to Mars.
Musk plans to test such a landing on Mars in 2020 with an unmanned mission. But it is not clear whether it is feasible and the fuel needs are huge.
There are three very important things missing or missing musk in the newspaper. Missions such as the ExoMars rover in 2020 – and plans to return to Earth samples – will look for signs of life on Mars.
And we have to wait for the results before Mars contamination with humans and their waste. Planetary bodies are covered by the rules of “planetary protection” to avoid pollution and it is important for science that all future missions follow.
Another problem is that musk rejects one of the main technical challenges of being on the surface of Mars: temperature. In just two sentences, he concludes: It’s a bit cold, but we can warm it up.
It has a very useful environment, which is mainly CO2 with nitrogen and argon, and some other elements trace, means that we can grow plants on Mars in just compressing the atmosphere.