Elon Musk is presenting at the International Astronautical Congress in Australia an update for his plan to colonize Mars. The SpaceX CEO has dropped a few hints since speaking at last year's conference but most of the scheme has remained a mystery. You can watch the livestream of the presentation above.
We can expect to hear updates on the spaceship that Musk calls the Interplanetary Transport System, new missions and applications for SpaceX, and logistics details of funding the travel and surviving in a martian habitat.
Calling the Interplanetary Transport System a big rocket is an understatement of astronomic proportions. It measures 400 feet high, has a 40-foot diameter and features 42 rocket engines in its first stage. It is the largest rocket ever made and even surpasses NASA's Saturn V by 40 feet in height.
In space travel, bigger isn't always better though and Musk will likely unveil a scaled-down 30-foot diameter version in his talk. While it won't be able to carry as much or travel as far, this will significantly reduce the price and allow for more versatile missions.
One of the biggest issues SpaceX is faced with is financing the mission. The company has a plan to send colonists to Mars by 2024 but hasn't said how they will pay for it. Many with ties to the industry believe the Mars missions will be financed with funds from Earth-orbit missions.
NASA under the Obama Administration was focusing on a mission to Mars. Now, under the Trump Administration, they are pushing for a return to the Moon. This could mean more business (and profits) for SpaceX should they choose to take up these missions.
The event is set to take place at 2pm Australian Central Standard Time (00:30 Eastern). Musk has said that "certain aspects of the new design and its applications will be unexpected," so expect an eventful presentation.