Elon Musk believes that his SpaceX Starship will go into orbit sometime this year. If true, It will be a big step in his quest to move mankind to Mars. But the tech billionaire has a history of big space claims that haven’t come true in the past. Can he make this one real?
Elon Musk held a press conference Thursday at Starbase, the SpaceX headquarters, to give his first presentation on the Starship since 2019. The gigantic black rocket loomed behind him throughout the presser. The 390-foot-tall rocket is the biggest of its kind, but it’s necessary to propel a crew and all of the necessary cargo to Mars.
Musk believes that humanity must leave Earth or face extinction. He wants to begin building a colony on Mars by 2030. But that will require SpaceX to deliver millions of tons of equipment and cargo to the Red Planet to make way for human civilization.
“Starship is capable of doing that,” Musk said of ferrying the necessary equipment. “And I think we should try to do that as soon as we can. The window of opportunity may be open for a long time — and I hope it is — but it may also be open for a short time.”
Elon Musk previously said that he expects humans to touch down on Mars within the next five to 10 years. But the next major milestone for Musk’s vision will be much closer to home. Last year, NASA chose SpaceX’s Starship to launch astronauts to the moon as part of its Artemis 3 mission.
Thursday, Musk laid out his grand vision for Mars with a video showing four astronauts opening the shuttle door to a bustling ecosystem on Mars.
“Let’s make this real,” Musk said. “Let’s make this real.”
Scientist Mock Elon Musk’s Noah’s Ark Plan
“The next really big thing is to build a self-sustaining city on Mars and bring the animals and creatures of Earth there,” he said. “Sort of like a futuristic Noah’s ark.”
But scientists are dubious of this claim. Sending humans to live on Mars is difficult enough, adding animals only ups the improbability factor.
“Mars, with its CO2 atmosphere, might be a good place to grow plants if they are kept warm and watered, but it would be a terrible place to drop off animals, who need oxygen to breathe,” scientist Roger Wiens told The Daily Mail. “Humans might be smart enough to don oxygen breathing systems, but would an animal be smart enough to adjust such a system if it was falling off its face? I don’t think so. We would end up with a lot of dead animals. Let’s try botanical gardens first.”