We are 34.8 million miles away from Mars. This may seem like a lot, but it’s nothing to SpaceX pioneer Elon Musk. On April 27, SpaceX tweeted out: “Planning to send Dragon to Mars as soon as 2018. Red Dragons will inform overall Mars architecture, details to come.”
The trip will cost 130 million dollars to just launch the rocket, with the reactors at 15 to 20 million dollars each. At a net worth of 13 billion U.S dollars, Musk is expected to do essentially anything in the universe.
Musk has planned missions to space, and this is a first step in achieving this goal. Musk and his SpaceX crew are planning to send civilians up to Mars. He will begin by sending astronauts to the International Space Station. He expects to send private citizens to Mars in 10 to 15 years.
The mission and the rocket will be called the Red Dragon. “Dragon 2 is designed to be able to land anywhere in the solar system,” Musk tweeted. “Red Dragon Mars Mission is the first test flight.”
SpaceX is expected to hurt or possibly make NASA obsolete in the near future with the ability to send Rockets and Rovers with a fraction of the cost NASA spends. NASA’s Mars Rovers cost 500 million dollars to launch, and Musk predicts to do this for only 130 million.
The Mars Mission and missions to follow by SpaceX have been criticized by many politicians and industry experts for lacking a high-end plan. Musk has not yet release the details of his plans. We have not seen the full cost of the whole mission, and we are yet to see most of the engineering plans. Elon Musk has sent several missions to space, including rockets and satellites, but nothing on the scale of travel to Mars.
There have been several crashes of SpaceX rockets, but SpaceX has redeemed itself with several very successful missions. Musk and SpaceX will release more information in the coming years but are expecting to plan a mission to Mars by 2025. Red dragon is just the starting point.