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SpaceX CEO predicts when humankind will be on Mars

Gwynne Shotwell has made her forecasts for when astronauts are likely to reach the surface of the red planet, and who will be taking them there.

the SpaceX Dragon Endurance

If stepping onto our Moon was a ‘giant leap for mankind’, then what are we going to call it when humans put boot to dust on Mars? Whatever it is, the scriptwriters have got a few more years to polish off that first line, with ‘before 2030′ being predicted as the timeline we reach the Red Planet.

This is certainly the goal of SpaceX, the company chaired by Gwynne Shotwell, and founded by Elon Musk. They consider that “it is likely that astronauts will reach the surface of the red planet before the end of the 2020s”, also indicating that it would be their company that would take them there.

Unlike in years gone by, the space race is now being run by private companies, and SpaceX is the most advanced in this regard, with a key purpose: to go to Mars as soon as possible...and to create a colony of humans there.

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Earth. Moon. Mars...In that order

With our own beautiful planet bursting at the seams and being treated less than Mother Nature deserves, other orbiting rocks are eyed as the next frontier, as they have been in science fiction for as long as the imagination has allowed. A visit to our own satellite was one thing, but a longer stay is front of mind at SpaceX, along with the arrival on the final inner planet of our solar system.

“I think it will be in this decade, yes. People on the Moon, sooner,” Shotwell said in the brief interview referencing the Mars objective. “I think we need to send a large number to the surface of Mars, and then people will start thinking about it more. And then I think in five or six years, people will see that that will be a real place to go.”

Living on Mars still requires a lot of infrastructure and planning and is obviously not cheap and accessible, but they are working with private wealthy individuals who are starting to buy flights into space.

Always aiming to set the standard, SpaceX aims to be the company that realises this ambitious vision. They continue their development on a 100-passenger spaceship called Starship and a giant rocket known as Super Heavy, to carry people and cargo to the Moon, Mars and beyond.

Starship already has several lunar missions on its schedule. In 2018, for example, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa booked the vehicle for a trip around the moon with a planned launch date in 2023. And NASA chose Starship as the first manned lunar lander for its Artemis programme, which plans to carry astronauts near the moon’s south pole in 2025.


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