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Friday, November 23, 2012

Musk Dedicated to Build Mars Transports

Speaking to a full house at the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) this week, Elon Musk imagines he will have to go to Mars himself and live in the self-sustaining human colony that SpaceX will be instrumental in establishing, notes FlightGlobal.
Elon Musk plans a trek to Mars.
Musk told his RAeS audience that he is "hopeful" the first Mars mission will be a government-private partnership, but added that he had to prepare for an all-private effort: "It needs to happen one way or the other."
SpaceX intends to build a methane/liquid oxygen (Lox) engine, said Musk, in a shift away from the highly refined kerosene rocket propellant (RP-1) that has powered the company’s previous engines. He told FlightGlobal that methane fuel has performance, cost and storage advantages over alternatives and could even be extracted from the Martian atmosphere for use in landing and ascent stages.
President Obama with Musk in 2010
“The energy cost of methane is the lowest and it has a slight Isp (specific impulse) advantage over kerosene,” said Musk, adding that “it does not have the pain-in-the-ass factor that hydrogen has”. Hydrogen, another commonly used fuel, has storage and handling difficulties and the problem of hydrogen embrittlement.
Musk confirmed that he would not be seeking collaboration with the Russians, despite their lead in this technology, before adding however that “we might hire a few”. Musk also ruled out working with China, noting that they did not seem to want collaboration anyway.

Musk also lectured at University of Oxford at the Oxford Martin School presentation at the Sheldonian Theatre to a large crowd about "space travel, electric vehicles and solar energy"

Musk spoke of his sadness at the end of the Apollo space programme and his ambition to reignite the passion for space exploration with a “small” mission to Mars. “I didn’t think it would be possible to create a space company - it seemed like the provenance of governments”, he said.

The entrepreneur also talked to the audience about his vision for electric cars and solar power, both of which in he holds significant investments.

Musk’s next projects include a fully reusable rocket and Mars settlement is within his sights.

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