Entrepreneurs usually have a quirky side to them, which often makes them very unpredictable. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, arguably one of the most successful entrepreneurs of recent times, is no exception. After first announcing plans to send humans to mars within the forseeable future, Musk has recently asked the twitterati for a new name for his Mars Colonial Transporter — which as it suddenly turns out, can actually go well beyond Mars!
MCT is SpaceX’s name for its privately funded development project — which interestingly, is also Elon Musk’s personal goal — that seeks to to design and build a spaceflight system capable of ferrying humans between Earth and Mars. The project first came to light in 2013, when Elon Musk made an statement, expressing his intentions of holding off any potential IPO of SpaceX shares on the stock market until after the “Mars Colonial Transporter is flying regularly.” Which is actually a reason of its own to be interested in the MCT. A SpaceX IPO will likely be historical!
Coming back to the point, the MCT was originally projected as a vehicle that will be able to carry humans to Mars and possibly someday lead to the formation of the first human settlement on the red planet — at least as Musk envisions it. However, the SpaceX founder recently surprised everyone with the following tweet,
Turns out MCT can go well beyond Mars, so will need a new name…
What the….? Who springs that kind of news so casually? Well, Elon Musk. So there you have it folks, the MCT can go well beyond Mars, although we don’t exactly have a measure of its capabilities yet.
The tweet also sparked off a naming contest among Musk followers, with most rooting for Heart of Gold — Musk’s favorite fictional spaceship. In case you are unaware of it, it is the spaceship used by the two — or was it three? — headed president of the galaxy to flee from politics in search of a long forgotten planet (Read: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and was powered by an improbability drive that consisted of a cup of hot tea.
Musk also had his own suggestions,
Maybe Ultimate Spaceship, Version 2? Mostly because it is not the ultimate and there isn’t a version 1.
Meanwhile, why was this information sprung like this? Wouldn’t a more appropriate time to speak out on the topic would be the International Astronautical Congress, that is slated to be held on September 27th — where Musk is a special keynote speaker. Something tells me that this just may be an attempt to divert popular attention away from the recent SpaceX fiasco, which saw its Falcon 9 rocket explode along with its payload. The last we hear, the investigation wasn’t really going pretty well.
Be that as may, it is certainly interesting to know that the MCT can actually go beyond the Mars. Musk appears to have some serious ambitions for the future of the human species. Meanwhile, SpaceX is expected to launch the pilot, unmanned MCT in 2022. The 2022 launch will then be followed by manned flight where, if all goes well, the MCT will take the first humans to Mars — taking the first step towards a Mars settlement and making us an interplanetary species.
Meanwhile, we would love to hear your response to Elon Musk’s question. What do you think the MCT should be called in face of its new abilities? Let us know by commenting right below.