Musk Predicts First Mars Short Space Trip In 2019; Sees Martian Colonies With "Pizza Joints And Night Clubs"

Seemingly unbothered by such trivial and mundane developments such as the recent price action of Tesla, which unlike many of its money-burning "story" peers has seen its stock languish this year amid growing sellside skepticism and downgrades, Elon Musk told an audience at South by Southwest to think big, and that his timeline for sending a space vehicle to Mars could mark its first short space flight as early as the first half of 2019.

Recall that Musk's SpaceX announced in September 2017, that it aims to send a cargo mission to the Red Planet by 2022. SpaceX's ultimate objective is to plant the seeds to put a human colony on Mars. A colony, mind you, that will cost a lot of taxpayer subsidized cash.

This is how Wired laid out Musk's grand vision last year:

Sporting Tony Stark facial hair, Musk outlined SpaceX's plan today at the 67th annual International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico. It involves a slew of new technology: gigantic, reusable rockets; carbon fiber fuel tanks; ultra-powered engines. Plus spaceships capable of carrying a hundred or more passengers to the Red Planet, landing, then returning to Earth to pick up more. Musk doesn't just want to go to Mars: He wants to build a civilization there. Which means he'll need all that sweet gear to make it cheap enough to work.

Cheap, of course, is relative. Still, Musk estimates that buying a single ticket to Mars right now (using non-existent tech) would probably cost around $10 billion. The same amount of cash could buy you a few square blocks in Midtown Manhattan. But once the so-called SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System is fully operational, he estimates that a person will be able to travel to the Red Planet for around $200,000.

Take a ride with Elon through his Martian fantasy. You and 99 or more other passengers board a huge crew vessel atop a massive new rocket—combined, they are about as tall as a 40-story building. Forty-two Raptor engines rumble to life below, and soon you and your fellow pilgrims are gunning through the upper atmosphere at tens of thousands of miles per hour. After depositing you in orbit, the first stage booster drops back to Earth, and flies itself back to the launchpad at Cape Canaveral. After some indeterminate refurbing, a crane attaches another spaceship on top. Except this one has no people. It's full of fuel. The rocket launches again, and releases the spaceship, which meets your spaceship in orbit and transfers its fuel load into your ship's tanks. Repeat a few times until your ship is topped off. Then, you head for Mars.

All of the above summarized in just three symbols: $$$.

Of course, Musk would never admit that, instead he has much loftier ambitions - no less than saving humanity from near certain doom.

As Musk put it at the beginning of his speech: "I really think there are two fundamental paths [for humans]: One path is we stay on Earth forever, and some eventual extinction event wipes us out."

"I don’t have a doomsday prophesy."

"But history suggests some doomsday event will happen."

"The alternative is, become a spacefaring and multi-planetary species."

And remember: the best way to avoid doom is to give Musk a blank-check endorsed by all of humanity's taxpayers, subsidizing this latest and most spectacular of all boondoggles, even as back on earth the Model 3 which is supposed to propel TSLA's stock into outer space is getting increasingly mixed reviews:

But back to Musk's grand visions of humanity's next bold step to Mars: the SpaceX CEO held a surprise Q&A session at the annual technology and culture festival South by Southwest in Austin, Texas on Sunday, where according to CNBC he told attendees that "we are building the first Mars, or interplanetary ship, and I think well be able to short trips, flights by first half of next year."

Of course, when it comes to Musk and his calendar milestones, one should add a decade just to be safe. And indeed, mindful of elevating expectations too high, Musk hedged: "Although sometimes, my timelines are a little, you know..." he said to laughter.

So what does Musk need, if not more money (yet)? "The biggest thing that would be helpful is just general support and encouragement and goodwill," Musk said. "I think once we build it we'll have a point of proof something that other companies and countries can go and do. They certainly don't think it's possible, but if we do they'll up their game."

Actually, scratch that: lots of money will be needed after all: Musk said that in the intermediate term, Mars will need Glass domes, a power station, and an assortment of basic living fundamentals. To start, Mars will have "the most elementary infrastructure. Just a base to create propellant, a power station, blast domes in which to grow crops, all the sort of fundamentals without which you could not survive."

Musk said the first human colony on Mars won't be an "escape hatch for rich people," but will instead be a place where a small group of people "for whom the excitement of the frontier exceeds the risk and danger" plants the seeds for a democratic, entrepreneurial society.

Translation: only rich people need apply.

After the infrastructure is complete the colony fun will begin with "an explosion of entrepreneurial opportunity because Mars will need everything from iron foundries to pizza joints to nightclubs" he said, probably to even more zombified laughter.

In a wide-ranging series of remarks, Musk regaled the audience with anecdotes about several of his other ventures, including Tesla and the Boring Company, with the billionaire joking he tweets about the latter more than he actually spends time working on it.

Musk raised eyebrows when asked about the source of his inspiration: his answer: Fred Astaire and Kanye West.

As to whether Musk sees himself as the ruthless dictator in charge of an entire planet, Musk said Mars will probably be a direct democracy, with votes on every major issue.


VAL THOR Troy Ounce Sun, 03/11/2018 - 16:25 Permalink

The Russians did not go to the moon.  Why?

The VA Radiation Belt.

They said it would need a spacecraft with 10ft thick lead walls to safeguard the astronauts from deadly radiation beyond the VARB.

That's why we never went to the moon in '69.

Just another face-saving hoax.

In reply to by Troy Ounce

two hoots VAL THOR Sun, 03/11/2018 - 16:29 Permalink

I find it most interesting it took us a few million years to evolve from Lucy and yet, even now, we are not all adaptable to the variable environments on our own, Earth, planet?   Maybe our minds are getting ahead of (imagining) our bodies abilities?  Roll on.

Other:  If Lucy was "created" in the image of.....

Of course people imagine a blond haired, skinny clad dressed Eve, a red delicious apple and a snake that looks like one in a animated Disney movie in the garden of eden (maybe Eve with an IPhone?).  It's complicated.

In reply to by VAL THOR

Sokhmate VAL THOR Sun, 03/11/2018 - 18:26 Permalink

Re: The Russians did not go to the moon.  Why?

Supporting anecdote from within the US&A: NASA had a Radiation Shielding department up until the latter part of the 2000 decade.

Inventing material to shield from radiation (for a trip to Mars - remember Bush's Space Exploration Vision circa 2004) was so fruitless (reaching the same Russian conclusion of 10ft thickness etc.., that that department has been dissolved.

In reply to by VAL THOR

BTFDemocracy VAL THOR Sun, 03/11/2018 - 21:36 Permalink

Wikipedia on travel beyond VARB: " A satellite shielded by 3 mm of aluminium in an elliptic orbit (200 by 20,000 miles (320 by 32,190 km)) passing the radiation belts will receive about 2,500 rem (25 Sv) per year (for comparison, a full-body dose of 5 Sv is deadly). Almost all radiation will be received while passing the inner belt.[30]

Astronauts' overall exposure was actually dominated by solar particles once outside Earth's magnetic field. The total radiation received by the astronauts varied from mission to mission but was measured to be between 0.16 and 1.14 rads (1.6 and 11.4 mGy), much less than the standard of 5 rem (50 mSv) per year set by the United States Atomic Energy Commission for people who work with radioactivity.[31] "

In reply to by VAL THOR

SixIsNinE CuttingEdge Sun, 03/11/2018 - 17:32 Permalink

no doubt CuttingEdge -

this is another lie to distract from last year's bogus announcment that THIS year 2018 he would put two people in a rocket ship which would orbit the moon.

Guess he wants us to forget about another one.

Pretty easy when the attention span of the masses is said to be in the few second range these days.


In reply to by CuttingEdge

ironmace Baron von Bud Sun, 03/11/2018 - 17:24 Permalink

What is the nature of the radiation that is present in the VARB?

How long would astronauts be exposed to such radiation on a lunar trajectory?

What is the flux of low energy vs. high energy particles? How many rems or milli-seiverts would that be?

What is the nature of the shielding of both the spacecraft and the astronaut suits?

I'm sure these things were taken into account. It was common knowledge back then. The VARB was discovered in 1958.


In reply to by Baron von Bud

Vageling Miss Informed Sun, 03/11/2018 - 18:46 Permalink

Imagine that. Been suckered by some slick dude for some pizza to find out that they can't even serve it there. Something with required shit to sustain life. And Mars doesn't come to my mind that is. Starving and living in a jar... Good luck getting your refund ;) 

And I'm eating... was... eating pizza. Lazy me. lost my appetite. Now just scraping the tuna off it. Got cheated as well ;)

In reply to by Miss Informed

bobsmith5 Yukon Cornholius Sun, 03/11/2018 - 16:13 Permalink

One has to only ask, why have we NOT returned to the Moon?  Go ahead I dare you.  The deeper you dig the more you realize it was all a big hoax and totally faked.  But now that I have said that, you think I'm crazy and therefore you have an excuse not to think about it or ask any questions.  The rabbit hole is much, much deeper than you can imagine.

So Elon, don't even think about trying to make us think you are going to Mars until you prove you can get to the Moon first.

In reply to by Yukon Cornholius

creeko bobsmith5 Sun, 03/11/2018 - 20:54 Permalink

you're right.  and anyone with half a brain or an iota of motivation to question their own crusty beliefs would come to the same conclusion.  do we still have many moon landing believers out there?  i'm truly astonished by this... seemingly 'smart' people, too.  that space station is mighty fake, too... with astro-nots on wires.  And Elon's car, floating through space, tires not burst and car not melting from the intense heat of space... but if you believe that, well... mars!

In reply to by bobsmith5

veritas semper… greenspanator Sun, 03/11/2018 - 18:46 Permalink


They are planning for pizza on Mars . What sauce will be served?

As for America reaching Mars ,this will happen,after:

-NASA finds all those lost original videos from the Moon 'landing'

-the American flag on the Moon stops waiving in the  zero  atmosphere of the Moon ,and with no stars on the sky-those were so funny

-America stops using Russian engines to get to ISS

-America is no longer bankrupt

I know,I have to wait for a long,long time.


In reply to by greenspanator