Elon Musk is determined to land a SpaceX rocket on Mars within a decade. The serial entrepreneur has said, "I feel fairly confident we can build the ship and be ready for the launch in five years. Five years seems like a long time for me.” One man that is throwing his support behind Musk's possibly insane vision is astronaut Scott Kelly. Kelly who in 2016 spent 11 months and three days in space in 2015 told media, “When Elon Musk said he was going to launch his rocket and then land the first stage on a barge, I thought he was crazy. And then he did it. I'm not going to ever doubt what he says, ever again."
With current technology, it would take approximately 200 days to reach Mars. Kelly’s almost year-long research project in space was to investigate the effects of space on the body. Kelly has compared being in space to rapidly aging, he says, “In this weightless environment, we lose a lot of bone mass and muscle mass. We'd lose one percent of our bone every month if we didn't really do anything about it." To combat these effects Kelly worked out for two and a half hours every day while on board the International Space Station. Humans heading to Mars would need to commit to a similar exercise regime to prevent massive body mass loss. Keely suggests if this isn’t the case a human "would be like jelly" after 100 months.
Musk, who is the head of both electric car company, Tesla and Space exploration company, SpaceX, outlined his plans to get to Mars in a paper titled, “Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species” that was published in New Space Journal in June this year. SpaceX will use a 42-engine rocket, called BFR, in its quest to send humans to Mars by 2024. The BFR has the capacity to carry around 100 people, or 150 tons of cargo.
Kelly has suggested that the space industry will become a part of everyday life within the next thirty years. "I think at first what we'll have is something similar to the early days of aviation, where the barnstormers took people for rides, and that developed into a transportation system," Kelly said. He thinks safe and regular space travel will also affect earth travel by increasing the speed and efficiency of vehicles.
The SpaceX website describes their Mars mission with a quote from Musk saying: “You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great - and that's what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It's about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can't think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.”
If you, too, imagine life among the stars to be the pinnacle of excitement and are ready to commit to an intense training regime keep your eye on the SpaceX site.