SpaceX says it plans to send a spacecraft to Mars as early as 2018

By Shawn Knight ยท 5 replies
Apr 27, 2016
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  1. Unlike other companies, SpaceX appears fully intent on one day sending humans to Mars. The commercial spaceflight company on Wednesday said via Twitter that it aims to send its Dragon spacecraft to Mars as soon as 2018.

    Putting people on Mars is still many years away as NASA or a private company like SpaceX would first need to put in place supplies and structures to sustain human life. Before that could happen, however, they’d need to figure out how to safely land massive payloads on the Red Planet.

    As The Verge points out, spacecraft returning to Earth have a thick atmosphere to help them decelerate. Mars’ atmosphere, however, is just one-hundredth the pressure of ours meaning it provides far less drag to slow down incoming craft, thus increasing the chances of a hard landing that could damage / destroy cargo.

    SpaceX’s language suggested it may use multiple Dragon spacecraft to “inform overall Mars architecture” which likely means they’d be used to survey the land and help develop methods to deal with Mars’ thin atmosphere as it relates to landing.

    A SpaceX spokesperson told Gizmodo that they intend to use Falcon Heavy rockets currently under development to send the Dragon spacecraft on their way. A test flight of the first Falcon Heavy is expected to take place in November.

    SpaceX chief Elon Musk added via Twitter that its spacecraft is designed to land anywhere in the solar system and that the mission to Mars will be its first test flight.

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  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,332   +1,978

    Perhaps they can include "the second most interesting man in the world" in that crew so we are rid of both of them!
    wiyosaya likes this.
  3. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,870   +1,290

    SalaSSin likes this.
  4. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Sending spacecraft to mars is nothing new, it's been many times already. Even India sent a spacecraft to mars (using strong curry powder as fuel I suspect) pretty recently.
    andrewdoyle88 likes this.
  5. andrewdoyle88

    andrewdoyle88 TS Booster Posts: 114   +95

    They fed the spaceship lots of Indian food the night before the flight.
  6. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,923   +756

    Musk has some lofty goals, however, I would be surprised if he is successful in that time frame.

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