Humans could be venturing to Mars sooner than we think, as SpaceX founder Elon Musk outlines his ambitions plan for a manned mission to the planet, which could be as soon as 2022.
Mr Musk outlined the development a huge interplanetary rocket and capsule to transport 100 passengers and cargo for each voyage, which could be ready three years sooner than previously planned.
The rocket would be much larger than the Falcon 9, which SpaceX has already successful tested, and the complete length would be nearly as long as two Boeing 747 air crafts.
At the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, Mr Musk said: “What I really want to try to achieve here is to make Mars seem possible – like it’s something we can achieve in our lifetimes.”
Although he ultimately invitations humans living on Mars, he said the key to making this work would be getting the ticket price down to a reasonable amount to attract volunteers.
Mr Musk said: “Our goal is to get it roughly equivalent to [the] cost of a medium house in the United States, about $200,000.”
However, he estimated that he cost of sending someone to Mars stands at “around $10 billion per person”, but it is unclear if this is with current systems or his proposed plans for a rocket system. He also failed to explain how the missions would be funded.
NASA said that it approved of Musk’s plans and “applauds all those who want to take the next giant leap – and advance the journey to Mars.”
They added: “We are very pleased that the global community is working to meet the challenges of a sustainable human presence on Mars. This journey will require the best and the brightest minds from government and industry, and the fact that Mars is a major topic of discussion is very encouraging.”
Musk said the first ship to go to Mars would be called Heart of Gold as a tribute to the ship powered by an “infinite improbability drive” from Douglas Adams’ science fiction novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.