Elon Musk is unveiling a new plan for conquering Mars with SpaceX — watch his talk live online tonight


#1

Elon says, I can do it, I can do it as long as long as taxpayers give me a ton of money.

Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of SpaceX, is about to present an updated plan for colonizing Mars with 1 million people.

The International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia, is hosting Musk’s presentation on Friday. SpaceX will stream video of the event via a YouTube Live feed, which we’ve embedded at the end of this post. Coverage should begin Friday at 12:30 a.m. EDT (2 p.m. ACST), when Musk is scheduled to go on stage.

Musk tweeted on Monday that he’ll unveil “major improvements” and “unexpected applications” in the talk.

During his one-hour presentation at last year’s IAC in Guadalajara, Mexico, Musk revealed his Mars vehicle design.

It features a two-part, 40-story-tall vehicle called the Interplanetary Transport System that’d vastly outperform NASA’s Saturn V moon rocket. Musk refers to the system’s spaceship, which is expected to ferry 100-200 people to the red planet, as the “Heart of Gold” (named after the vessel in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”).

Musk commonly calls the system’s largest part — a giant reusable booster — the “Big F—ing Rocket” (BFR for short). In a tweet on Tuesday, he said he will “describe [the] new BFR planetary colonizer design in detail” during the talk.

“This should be worth seeing,” he said. “Design feels right.”

A scientific journal published Musk’s full Mars colonization scheme in June, though it mostly covered the same points as his IAC 2016 talk. After the plan was published, Musk noted on Twitter that an update (V2) was “coming soon”, and that it’d address the “most fundamental flaw” of the first version: how to pay for the Mars vehicle’s development and operation.

SpaceX’s goal is to make it cheaper to ride to Mars than to buy a house, with a cost at or below $100,000 per passenger. Making both the booster and spaceship fully reusable is key to vastly reducing the steep costs of launching people and cargo off of Earth. Musk thinks the first colonists could survive and eventually return to Earth by finding a way to harvest carbon dioxide and water in Martian air and soil, then convert that material into breathing air, rocket fuel, and more.

spacex interplanetary transport system its carbon fiber fuel tank sizeElon Musk/SpaceX
Some spaceflight experts have expressed skepticism about the plan — namely a lack of details about living quarters, life support, food growth schemes, radiation shielding, and related systems. However, few dispute that Musk’s Mars transportation concept is feasible with adequate funding.

Since Musk’s 2016 talk, SpaceX engineers have been actively building and testing core hardware to support the ambitious scheme.

For example, the company has shown off its powerful new Raptor rocket engine — the bottom of the giant Mars rocket booster (or BFR) would have 42 of those engines. The company also unveiled a giant carbon-fiber fuel tank around which the Heart of Gold spaceship would be built and successfully pressure-tested the vessel.

Tune in to Musk’s talk below shortly before 12:30 a.m. EDT on Friday (9:30 p.m. PDT on Thursday).


#2

Live threads need streams. SAUCE!


#3

#4

Here was the actual live stream. If you have the time it’s pretty interesting to watch.

The whole point of the talk was to wrap-up with city-to-city travel by rocket.

Jump to 40:54


#5

HOLY CRAP!!! That is absolutely AMAZING! The airline industry would finally get some real competition. Plus, the hassle of sitting on an airplane for 6-8 hours would be eliminated. I know most people at first would be freaked out by the idea of getting on a rocket to get somewhere, but I doubt that feeling was very different when air travel first began. Elon Musk gets a lot of criticism for receiving government subsidies, but I can’t think of anyone doing as much as he is in so many different sectors.


#6

Yeah… but you have to travel naked (for security purposes) and if you think that seating cattle section of a regular commercial aircraft is tight…


#7

He certainly has vision… my only thought in the program was a bit of dishonesty when he talked about funding… Never once did he mention the taxpayers dime… He many indeed be about to roll all of his current projects up into the BFR but those funds were most definitely ‘crowd sourced’ via government coercion


#8

If I can travel to the other side of the planet in less than an hour and over to Europe in under 30 minutes, I really don’t care what the accommodations are or how tight the security is.


#9

I don’t disagree about the funding piece. Musk is making a fortune through tax payer involuntary contributions; however, where has NASA been for all of these years? If we are diverting resources away from NASA and giving it to private sector that can make these advancements faster and cheaper than the government then I’m all for it - as long as we get some benefit out of it. I don’t get any benefit from current welfare programs. I would get benefit from commercial city-to-city space travel.


#10

Remember the guy that ended the shuttle program?
Now Americans are shuttled by Russian rockets to the space station at 70 million a lift.

Lets go to Mars when we cannot get to the space station with out hitch hiking a ride.

Misplaced priorities.


#11

Muh… low earth orbit is boring… if we are ever going to get off this planet we need to solve the problems of gravety deprivation and space radiation… those are not being addressed on the space station… My only question is, will Musk ever actually be self supporting or will he continue to create hypertubes and electric cars and advanced battery plants and rocket all the while garnering tax dollars so he can rob peter to pay paul… and earn a tidy income besides…


#12

In Musks case you go where the government money takes you.


#13

As a sci-fi geek I really like the idea of going to Mars, but I don’t like the price point. That money could be put to better use on infrastructure right here, right now. I-95 could use more than two lanes, that would be nice. I would be just fine with creating a more efficient global travel system as a part of that infrastructure investment as @BigTom suggests. Think of the benefits. Shorter global shipping times, faster air travel, business expansions, etc. Amazing stuff.


#14

Can someone please tell Elon Musk that he lives in 2017 not 1957?

This guy is obsessed with transportation technology while everything around him is going online.

These urbanite leftoids are dumb.