Tuesday, July 19, 2011
SpaceX chief sets his sights on Mars
Don't expect to hear any nostalgia about the soon-to-end space shuttle era from Elon Musk, the millionaire founder of Space Exploration Technologies. Musk isn't prone to look to the past, but rather to the future — to a "new era of spaceflight" that eventually leads to Mars, writes Alan Boyle for the MSNBC Cosmic Log.
The 40-year-old engineer-entrepreneur told Boyle in the interview that the company's Dragon capsule could take on a robotic mission to Mars as early as 2016. And he's already said it'd be theoretically possible to send humans to Mars in the next 10 to 20 years — bettering NASA's target timeframe of the mid-2030s.
SpaceX is working with NASA's Ames Research Center in California on an interplanetary mission concept that could theoretically be put into effect for a launch "five or six years from now," Musk said.
The absolute goal of SpaceX is to develop the technologies to make life multiplanetary, which means being able to transport huge volumes of people and cargo to Mars. So we'll do whatever is necessary to achieve that goal, Musk told Boyle.