Mars could be a travel destination in 2024, Elon Musk says

SPACE exploration discussions were rampant in the 1950s and continued to be the highlight of TV screens well into the 1980s. 

In the 70s Disney Land had a "future" exhibit dedicated to predicting life in the 2000s, featuring microwaves that materialised food out of thin air, TV's that could read our thoughts, tin-foil inspired clothing and transporters that even had the capacity of transporting humans to other planets. 

In 2016, the landscape isn't quite what Walt Disney envisioned, yes we have smart phones, TVs and smart watches to boot, but outer-space seems more like a fairy tale conjured by the creator of Mickey Mouse himself. 

NASA seems to have fallen into the background, yes they must be working on space travel but it's not exactly front-page news every day. 

There's no substantial way of knowing whether it's the media's agenda or the public's agenda, neither or both that's causing this lack of interest in NASA's goings-on. 

Perhaps it's just that space exploration must be on the back-burner for the world's Governments and this results in little progress, and little coverage of said progress.

Virgin Airlines chief executive officer Richard Branson has publically announced his goals to create spacecrafts that take travellers on a journey around the moon, which excited many, even if it was met with scepticism of safety and the company's ability to follow through with its grand promise.

But recently there's been another entrepreneur that's trying to make head-way in the space exploration sector.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. chief executive officer Elon Musk has had his face plastered across media websites over the past few weeks with reports he has predicted that his company could launch people to Mars in less than a decade. 

Elon Musk.
Elon Musk. OnInnovation, Flickr

The Australian Financial Review reported that the inventor spoke at Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California and said that if all goes according to plan, SpaceX could send people to Mars in 2024, with arrival at the planet in 2025. 

"What really matters is being able to transport large number of people and ultimately millions of tons of cargo to Mars," he said.

"That's what's necessary in order to create a...growing city on Mars."

The entrepreneur also said he would probably visit space himself in four or five years, though he doesn't plan to leave the Earth's orbit during that trip. 

In April, SpaceX said it planned to send an unmanned Dragon Version 2 spacecraft to Mars as soon as 2018.

That mission would demonstrate a way to land large payloads on Mars without parachutes or other aerodynamic decelerators, the company said at the time.

NASA has agreed to provide technical support for the Red Dragon Mars mission, which could include help with mission design and tracking or data transmission for deep space. 

The agency is interested in the entry descent and landing data from the mission. 

Mr Musk said he would give more details of the company's "architecture for Mars colonisation" in September at a global space conference.


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