Elon Musk is planning a mission to Mars within five years and claims that rockets should be able to transport passengers between continents back on planet Earth in under an hour.
The South African entrepreneur said that he believes that his organisation can get the first cargo mission to Mars in 2022. "This is not a typo, but it is very aspirational", he said referring to a slide during his speech to the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia.
He added that the 2022 mission will be a precursor to a manned mission pencilled in for 2024 (weather permitting).
But it's his aspirations for Earth-based travel that have come out of the blue, more or less. Musk says his fuel-glugging Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), currently in use for SpaceX missions, could be adapted to get passengers from London to New York in 38 minutes.
More importantly, added Musk, the BFR should be able to transport people across the globe at a similar price to current airfares.
The BFR is set to replace the current Falcon rocket used by SpaceX and is capable of carrying a payload of 150 tonnes, five times its predecessor, and the good news for anyone who has seen the Youtube video of exploding SpaceX rockets is that it should be able to land safely.
At 106m in height and 9m wide, it's slightly smaller than the existing craft, and by concentrating all the companies efforts into developing a single craft for both ventures, he believes he can make it affordable.
Musk is not above getting ahead of himself in terms of ambition and timeline, in the same way that the sea is not above the sky, so if these numbers start to slip, don't be too surprised.
That said, his craft are a lot less explody than they were and as a result costs are coming down as the concept of a re-usable rocket brings the price of sending a satellite into orbit down by millions.
He has also said that he plans to demonstrate his "point-to-point" offerings with his current fleet first, to 'prove its safe' but that future production would move to the BFR.
That could also start transferring people up to the International Space Station (ISS) on a regular basis, as well as onto a permanent moon base.
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