Today at the 67th International Astronautical Conference, Elon Musk talked about something which has been close to his heart for a long time. Getting people to Mars may not seem like a far-fetched idea in today’s time and age however, Musk is going a step further and is talking about setting up a permanent colony on the red planet. Performing this extraordinary feat will of course require a similarly extraordinary rocket. Lets take a look at the giant rocket booster SpaceX wants to build in order to colonize the red planet.
The rocket was teased in a short video SpaceX released around an hour before Elon Musk took to the stage. Once Musk started talking though, he provided us with much fuller details.
The rocket will have a single core and will be used to ferry almost 100 tons worth of cargo and humans out into space. To do so, it would have to generate a thrust of almost 28,730,000 pounds at liftoff. To put things in perspective, the Saturn V rockets that took humans to the moon, had a thrust of around 7,500,000 pounds of thrust. So yeah, that may well be more thrust than what has ever been achieved by one of our rockets.
The rocket will generate this massive power by deploying 42 of SpaceX’s newly developed Raptor engines. The engines will let it reach a top speed of almost 5,375 miles per hour. SpaceX may also let go of the helium pressurization system in favor of self pressurization. The decision appears to have been taken in wake of the investigations into the recent Falcon explosion.
It will be almost 77.5 meters tall and will be among one of the largest ever created by us. While the cost of taking a person to the Mars is in billions today, Musk is hoping to get it down to a mere $100,000. This, is a large part, will be thanks to the fact that Musk plans to use each for a ridiculous 1,000 times. While this sounds absurd, Elon Musk has proved that he can achieve the things he sets out for. I mean is going to Mars, not with the intent to explore but to set up a city? Is that any less fantastic?
The fuel for this beast is also going to be different and its one that Musk hopes to harvest on Mars itself — namely, a version of methane, instead of the current Oxygen-Kerosene combination that is deployed, to give rockets the thrust they need to get out into space.