SpaceX CEO talks about mission to Mars.
SpaceX is currently focusing efforts on a mission to the International Space Station, with current test flights leading up to a planned docking with the ISS in December this year.
During the AIAA Propulsion conference this week, CEO Elon Musk spoke about his plans for other places like the Moon or Mars. “Ultimately, the thing that is super important in the grand scale of history is—are we on a path to becoming a multi-planet species or not? If we’re not, that’s not a very bright future. We’ll just be hanging out on Earth until some eventual calamity claims us,” Musk said.
First on the list would be a vehicle that’s capable of delivering substantial mass to Mars and then returning to Earth. The company’s planned Falcon Heavy rocket, the plans for which were unveiled in April, could conceivably carry 12 to 15 metric tons, but “I think you’ll probably want a vehicle that can deliver something on the order of 50 metric tons … in a fully reusable manner,” Musk said.
The Falcon Heavy, which will be the world’s largest rocket, will have its inaugural flight in late 2012.