What: This past weekend, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk presented its next-generation spacecraft and vision of sending people to the Moon and Mars during an event at its launch facility in Cameron County, TX.
How: The launch vehicle, called Starship, is a “reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars, and anywhere else in the solar system.”, the company says.
Musk explained that Starship was built from steel which is lighter, cheaper and has better thermal characteristics compared to carbon fiber or aluminum-lithium which are commonly used in aerospace.
Starship will be the most powerful rocket in history, capable of carrying people into deep space, according to SpaceX. It will carry up to 100 people on long-duration, interplanetary flights.
When: The company has ambitions to make its first flight into orbit in six months and send its first passengers in 2020.
“This thing is going to take off, fly to 65,000 feet — about 20 kilometers — and come back and land in about one to two months […]”, Musk said.
What next: He said, further, that it would be very exciting to have a base on the Moon and Mars, even if it’s just for scientific research. This would help us to then go to other places in the solar system like Saturn.
“But the critical thing we need to focus on is the fastest path to a self-sustaining city on Mars.”, he added.
Why: Since we’re the only conscious life that we know of, we need to make everything possible to preserve it. It’s taken about 4.5 billion years of evolution to get to where we are today. Now, we have a limited window of opportunity to become a multi-planetary species, as the Sun is expanding and getting hotter.
“From an evolutionary standpoint, basically, if it took an extra 10 percent longer for conscious life to evolve on Earth, it wouldn’t evolve at all. Because it would have been incinerated by the Sun.”, Musk said.
Watch the entire presentation here