French writer Jules Verne first published "Around the World in Eighty Days" in 1873. A fantastic adventure story and he had a really wonderful imagination of what could be. "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" were two of his other books and have been turned into big screen movies. There is no doubt he was a forward thinker, but I can guarantee that he would have never thought that humans would contemplate a mission to the moon, let alone Mars!
Enter SpaceX and Elon Musk. SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation) was founded in 2002 by Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk. Their goal is to create technologies that reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars. Now if you are going to have a goal why not make it massive!! And why not travel to Mars in 80 days? Elon must be a fan of Jules Verne novels!
Elon Musk is an innovator and a futurist, but most importantly, he has the vision and financial means to really give it a crack. PayPal was a game changer company, as is Tesla Motors, and SpaceX is no different. What I really love about what SpaceX are trying to achieve, is the fact that they want to create reusable rockets for a sustainable life on Mars. They first achieved landing a rocket back on Earth, 8th of April 2016. And just recently on the 14th January 2017, SpaceX Falcon 9 was launched into space and then reentered the atmosphere and landed successfully on a drone ship deck.
Have a look at the landing below.
The latest rocket trial has been successful. The big plan from SpaceX is to get to Mars in 80 days. They will do this by using what they call their "Interplanetary Transport System" which uses the new SpaceX Raptor engines. These engines are three times more powerful than the Falcon 9 rocket. The new rocket will carry 100 passengers and the price would cost about $200,000 each passenger. The rocket would have restaurants and movie theatres. Hmm, I wonder how many movies could you watch during that trip? Musk's future plans are to reduce the travel time to 30 days!
The concept and vision is exciting but in my opinion I can't see Mars being colonized in my lifetime, unless some enormous asteroid changes course and heads our way. Then we might find a massive injection of money into this project from the global community.
For now, if I'm given the choice, I'm going to stick with Jules Verne and spend my 80 days visiting as many awesome places around the world that I can.