SpaceX Wants to Send People to Mars – Here’s What the Trip Might Look Like
by Meghan Bartels | Space.com
Even as SpaceX prepares to launch astronauts for the first time, the company is sharing its dreams for human spaceflight on a much grander scale: missions to Mars.
SpaceX’s desire to put humans on Mars is nothing new; the company was founded with that goal in mind. But now, the company is testing early versions of the spacecraft it envisions using on such journeys, evaluating potential landing sites and thinking through what a long-term base on the Red Planet might look like many years from now.
“In terms of the vision that we’re moving toward, it’s really to enable cities on Mars and everything that comes with having a city, having a large and growing population,” Paul Wooster, principal Mars development engineer at SpaceX, said during a May 20 meeting of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) focused on human missions to Mars.
“This obviously is a very significant endeavor, something that will take many years, many decades even, to really achieve,” he said. But the company is targeting a characteristically ambitious timeline of perhaps 2022 for the first uncrewed missions to Mars, Wooster said.
The vehicle that the company envisions as the workhorse for such a city is the Starship, powered by the Super Heavy booster. The pair is still in development, with SpaceX conducting early tests on a string of Starship prototypes at its site in Texas. None of those prototypes has left the ground yet.