Starship ticket to Red Planet could cost less than a house, Musk says
“Is there life on Mars?” David Bowie famously asked. If you ask SpaceX founder Elon Musk, there definitely soon will be, and it will be human life. It won’t be that expensive on SpaceX’s Starship, either, Musk thinks.
“Very dependent on volume, but I’m confident moving to Mars … will one day cost less than $500k & maybe even below $100k,” he tweeted last weekend. In Australian dollars, those figures are about $700,000 and $140,000, respectively. As Musk continued, “low enough that most people in advanced economies could sell their home on Earth & move to Mars if they want.”
If you find life on Mars isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, Musk promises the return ticket to Earth is free. Thus far, SpaceX has been transporting payloads, mostly of cube satellites into low-Earth orbit, for a fee. But Musk has long seen Mars as an insurance policy should living on Earth become untenable.
Of course, there’s no telling what housing will cost on Mars. But it will be a new land of opportunity. Once there are enough inhabitants, “then really the explosion of entrepreneurial opportunity (will begin), because Mars will need everything from iron foundries to pizza joints,” he said at 2018’s South by Southwest Festival.
SpaceX’s website declares its aspirational goal is a cargo mission to Mars in 2022 to “confirm water resources, identify hazards, and put in place initial power, mining, and life support infrastructure.” The next mission, targeted for 2024, would carry cargo and crew, who would lay the groundwork for future flights and build a propellant depot. Eventually, a permanent self-sustaining settlement would be built.
SpaceX also has ideas for Starship and the rocket Super Heavy to connect far-flung cities on Earth in less than an hour, giving business travel a whole new meaning for those who remain on our home planet.
We don’t know how soon people might call Mars home, but we’re fascinated by Musk’s ambition. It’s the freakiest show.