Elon Musk presents the plan for a manned mission to Mars. Mars colonization is becoming reality.

The famous entrepreneur, also the CEO of Tesla Motors, chairman of renewable energy company Solar City and co-founder of PayPal, displays his ambitious plan for the Mars colonization.

So, the dream of humans setting foot on Mars could happen within the next 10 years.

To make it simple, his concept involves building and launching a 400-foot carbon-fiber spacecraft. Then, sending a reusable rocket to refuel it mid-orbit and then deploying the spaceship’s built-in solar array and sending it off on a 3- to 4-month journey to Mars. Methane gas should be produced on Mars to refuel the rocket and then send it back to Earth.

The cost of the trip is currently estimated at around $10 billion per person, but his “interplanetary transport system” is designed to dramatically reduce the cost to just around $200,000 per person, said the 45-year-old at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico. With his ambitious effort, he hopes to build up a “fleet” of 1,000 or more, each carrying 100 to 200 passengers bound for a new life on Mars.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled an “interplanetary transport system” to carry humans to Mars. Credit: SpaceX

Landing Site

SpaceX has been working with NASA to identify potential landing sites on Mars for both its Red Dragon spacecraft and future human missions.

On March 18, in a presentation at a symposium in the Woodlands, Texas, Paul Wooster of SpaceX said the company, working with scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and elsewhere, had identified several potential landing sites, including one that looks particularly promising.

Wooster will be planning as manager of guidance, navigation and control systems on SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft. Several criteria will choose the site selection, he said. One is access to large quantities of ice near the surface that could, ultimately, support human settlements.

Another is to be close to the Equator and at a low elevation for solar power and better thermal conditions. “It’s probably hard to find that along with ice,” he acknowledged, so the focus has been on four locations at latitudes no more than about 40 degrees from the Equator.

Is It Dangerous?

The trip will be a perilous one. – Musk said.

“Basically, are you prepared to die?” Musk asked. “If that’s okay, you know, you’re a candidate for going.”

Once you get over the fear of death, of course, “it’d be, like, really fun to go!” Musk said, noting that his plan includes movie screenings and lectures on the way to the Red Planet.

Musk is planning for a launch of the first manned mission as early as 2024 and after that, within the 100 years, he believes SpaceX could send a million people to Mars.

That’s ambitious, isn’t it?