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OUT OF THIS WORLD | What's Up In Space - a weekly look at the biggest news coming down to Earth from space

SpaceX's ambitious plans for Mars, the Moon and Earth travel


Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist/Science Writer

Friday, September 29, 2017, 7:27 PM - Elon Musk's new plans for landing humans on Mars, unveiled on Thursday, now include a sleeker rocket design, potential stop-overs on the Moon, and even a complete overhaul of travel here on Earth.

The ultimate goal of SpaceX is to establish humanity as a multi-planet species, for the sole reason that having humans living on at least two planets would guarantee - unless we were extremely unlucky - that we would not completely die out in the event of some catastrophic, world-wide disaster.

Elon Musk, founder, CEO and Lead Designer of SpaceX, reiterated this goal on Thursday night, at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia, while outlining his latest plans to establish a human colony on Mars.

At the core of this plan is what he calls the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS), or more colloquially, the Big F**king Rocket (or BFR).

Musk first revealed the BFR in an announcement at the 2016 IAC, but since then he has revised the rocket to be slimmer and sleeker, in an attempt to streamline costs. Not only is the new BFR meant to transport people to Mars, at the rate of 100 per launch, but Musk's plans for the new rocket also include delivering satellites into orbit, servicing the International Space Station, and even landing on the Moon.




To this end, according to Musk, SpaceX will now stockpile a certain number of reusable Dragon spacecraft, Falcon 9 booster rockets, and whatever other components they can, and then entirely refocus their efforts towards making the BFR a reality.

Once the BFR is ready, and SpaceX deploys their Interplanetary Transport System, he even envisions this replacing airlines here on Earth.




The benefit of sub-orbital flights is clear, as it would reduce even the longest flight times down to under an hour. While there were undoubtedly concerns about how much this would cost for the average person, Musk went on to assure everyone that a ticket for such a flight "should be about the same as full fare economy in an aircraft."

"Full fare" airline tickets are ones that are not discounted, and allow the traveller to cancel, change flights and flight times, all without substantial penalty charges, and often without any penalties at all. Since these tickets can cost up to 10 times the price (or more!) of a normal coach ticket, not everyone will be able to afford this, but it would be far less than what other sub-orbital flights have been priced at, so far. Costs would, of course, come down as each rocket saw more and more reuse, potentially becoming affordable to everyone, given time.

Watch Elon Musk's entire announcement, via the embedded video below:




Source: SpaceX

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