Elon Musk Has an Estimate for How Much Your Trip to Mars Will Cost

Estimated date of departure? 2024.

By Kirk Miller

 
SpaceX
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28 September 2016

Good news: We’re going to Mars! Or so says Elon Musk. For about $200,000 per person.

But ... not in time for the election.

An ambitious interplanetary colonization plan was unveiled Tuesday by the SpaceX CEO at the International Astronautical Congress meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico.

SpaceX, the private spaceflight company that aims to “make life multi-planetary” through the use of reusable rockets and ships — they’ve had success and failure with that part — released a video on Tuesday outlining their plans to colonize Mars via an Interplanetary Transport System.

To achieve this, Musk introduced a two-prong approach: it'll involve a BFR (Big F*cking Rocket) and a BFS (Big F*cking Spaceship), names that nod to the weapon known as “the BFG” in Doom.

Essentially, the rocket/spaceship combo will lift off in Florida and separate in space. The spaceship will head to a parking orbit, while the booster will return to the launch mount on Earth, load up a fuel tanker before blasting off again to meet up with the ship. From there, the carbon-fiber BFS will refuel and then use an array of solar panels to help “glide” (at 62,000 MPH) toward Mars.

The rocket will be powered by 42 “Raptor” engines. The spaceship, meanwhile, will hold 100-200 passengers.

During this speech, Musk — hey, he made a South Park joke! — said he thinks it'll take about 1,000 ships and 40-100 years to achieve a self-sustaining city on our neighboring planet, with those plans starting in 2023. He thinks an interplanetary visit to the somehow terraformed red planet would ideally cost each person about the median price of a home in the United States — so about $200,000, as opposed to the $10 billion per passenger it would utilizing current technology.

Musk's a smart guy, and there's nothing wrong with being ambitious. That said — maybe save up for a house on Earth instead.

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