An artist's impression of the Mars voyage.
The billionaire founder and CEO of private spaceflight company SpaceX, Elon Musk is planning to help establish a Mars colony of up to 80,000 people by ferrying explorers to the Red Planet for about 500,000 dollars a trip.
Musk’s ambitious ‘Mars settlement’ program would start with a pioneering group of less than 10 people, who would travel to the Red Planet aboard a huge reusable rocket powered by liquid oxygen and methane.
“At Mars, you can start a self-sustaining civilization and grow it into something really big,” Musk told an audience at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London on Friday (Nov. 16).
According to the Discovery News, Musk was there to talk about his business plans, and to receive the Society’s gold medal for his contribution to the commercialization of space.
Large amounts of equipment, including machines to produce fertilizer, methane and oxygen from Mars’ atmospheric nitrogen and carbon dioxide and the planet''s subsurface water ice would accompany the founders of the new Mars colony.
The Red Planet pioneers would also take construction materials to build transparent domes, which when pressurized with Mars' atmospheric CO2 could grow Earth crops in Martian soil, the report said.
As the Mars colony became more self sufficient, the big rocket would start to transport more people and fewer supplies and equipment.
Musk said that 500,000 dollars ticket price for a Mars trip was affordable.
"The ticket price needs to be low enough that most people in advanced countries, in their mid-forties or something like that, could put together enough money to make the trip," he said, comparing the purchase to buying a house in California.