SpaceX Mars – 2022 Unmanned, 2024 Manned and 2050 Independent City

SpaceX is still targeting 2022 for an unmanned Mars cargo mission and 2024 for a Mars manned mission.

One dozen fleets of Starships sent every two years will then creating a self-sustaining colony on Mars by 2050.

Mars Colonization Details

Elon Musk wrote a 16-page article that described a plan to reduce the cost to bring one person to Mars down to $100,000. Elon Musk has a ballpark assumption that allocating one-ton of mass is enough for the passenger, supplies, and luggage.

In 2017, Purdue University engineers created a 331-page analysis for the Mars City. They looked at Mars food production, mining and the use of large cyclers.

Purdue’s Project Destiny was to validate the claim that a colony of 1 million inhabitants
can be feasibly established on the surface of Mars within 40-100 years using the SpaceX
architecture presented. They accomplish this by developing a colony that minimizes cost and the number of launches to build the actual colony. We then will evaluate 3 different methods of delivering this colony based on SpaceX architecture. The plan would need to be updated with more recent SpaceX Starship Super Heavy designs.

Purdue restricted their Mars City Colony design to reject the use of future technologies that are not likely to be in production within 30 years.

The initial 300 colonists consists of a skilled construction crew whose primary objective is to layout and deploy the larger colonies architecture prior to the larger population’s arrival. Once the cargo has been confirmed as to have landed on the Mars surface and is awaiting crew arrival, the initial 300 colonists will board either the next Mars vehicle.

They had a high cost of about $4 billion for each SAFE-800 nuclear reactor for cycler power.

The cost of nuclear reactors for space could be greatly reduced with the Kilopower reactors and the Los Alamos Megapower reactor which could be built as the Westinghouse eVinci reactors.

The eVinci could have about thirty times the power level as the SAFE-800. The eVinci could produce 25 megawatts instead of the 800 kilowatts of the SAFE-800.

Purdue’s Cary Mitchell has led efforts to improve human ability to grow food in space for over 40 years. He has improved lighting for crops to testing the ability to grow leafy greens, fruits and vegetables that will keep astronauts nourished and satisfied on their long trips.

SpaceX architecture for Mars are:
* Fully Reusable Launch System – This could be achieved in 2020-2022 with the Starship Super Heavy.
* LEO refueling – NASA has just funded a SpaceX-NASA project to develop this capability.
* Propulsive Landings – done
* Direct flight – this is just the plan for Mars flight
* Hyperbolic Trajectory between Earth and Mars
* Return capability of landing vehicles through fuel production on Mars Surface using a
methane/LOX fed propulsion system.

Low Gravity Solution

Dr. Joseph Parker presented a gravity solution for living on the moon or Mars. We need to have people live in one gravity pods on a circular hyperloop like track.

A one-kilometer radius track going at 360 kilometers per hour provides on one G. The actual moon or Mars tracks would have pods or trains going a bit slower and on an angle to get the right gravity. It is a 70-degree angle on Mars.

People and their children would live on these large trains. A smaller train will dock with the habitation train and they will load supplies. People will go onto the docking train to go to work in the lower gravity and then return to one G living and sleeping.

This train solution aligns with Elon Musk’s development of the Boring company and Hyperloop.

So Technically Feasible But What About Economics and Why Mars Colonization Will Happen

Clearly, it is technically feasible to build a Mars colony and city.

Elon Musk and SpaceX are headed for massive income and revenues.

SpaceX has successfully deployed 420 production versions of the Starlink Satellite. This will enable SpaceX to generate a lot of revenue for service to North America, Europe and Asia. The revenue will be from reducing latency in financial trading communication and providing rural areas with broadband.

SpaceX and Elon Musk will be made financially secure by 2023 and will have the $20 billion per year budget of NASA. If Elon has a 30X on his 54% share of SpaceX, then with Elon would have 30 times $10 billion in 2024 (50% of $20 billion in 2024). This means Elon would be worth over $300 billion without including any valuation for Tesla.

SpaceX will start generating substantial revenue in 2020 and 2021.

Elon Musk is a true believer in Mars Colonization. Elon and SpaceX with $50-100 billion per year in revenue will be able to fund a Mars colony. Just as Jeff Bezos is funding Blue Origin with $1 billion per year from his Amazon wealth, Elon Musk would be able to sustainably devote $5-10 billion per year for Mars colonization.

This amount of money will be able to fund a dozen SpaceX Super Heavy Starships every year that are fully reusable. Each individual Starship would be able to transport and support 100 colonists on Mars. The colonists could live in the Starship.

The politics in the US will flip. The $4 billion per year that currently goes to United Launch Alliance will start going to SpaceX. This will happen when SpaceX makes the first moon and Mars missions.

I think it will end up being the following funds every year at the start.
$5 billion of SpaceX funds,
$5 billion of NASA and US funds.
There will also be $1-4 billion from the European Space Agency, Japan Space Agency, Canada Space Agency as they tag along for Moon and Mars missions.
There will also be tourism, entertainment and other revenue.
Blue Origin and Bezos could shift to focus on developing industrialization on moon and Mars.

SOURCES- SpaceX, Elon Musk Twitter, Purdue University, Brian Wang Analysis
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com