Sunday, April 24, 2011

Elon Musk wants to go to Mars

WASHINGTON - APRIL 5:  Elon Musk, CEO of Space...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeBillionaire Elon Musk (the man behind Paypal) wants to send astronauts to Mars. Considering his success with SpaceX, if any man can that man is Elon Musk.

SpaceX hopes to put an astronaut on Mars within 10 to 20 years, Elon Musk says

US company SpaceX hopes to put an astronaut on Mars within 10 to 20 years, the head of the firm says.

"We'll probably put a first man in space in about three years," Elon Musk told the Wall Street Journal.

"We're going all the way to Mars, I think ... best case 10 years, worst case 15 to 20 years.''

SpaceX is one of the two leading private space companies in the US and has won $75 million from the US space agency NASA to help its pursuit of developing a spacecraft to replace the space shuttle.

The California-based company last year completed its first successful test of an unmanned space capsule into orbit and back.

Certainly the hardware is becoming available.  Multiple launches of the Falcon Heavy could be used to assemble the spaceship.  Bigelow inflatables could serve as the habitat.  Dragon capsules could land astronauts on the surface. However the human factors are another issue. Until the problems of microgravity and space radiation are solved human Mars missions are not going to happen.

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