Billionaire innovator, Elon Musk has an ambitious plan to build a rocket that can take humans to Mars. The same rocket could also be used to fly passengers to any destination on Earth in under one hour, he said.
And he wants to make it a reality within seven years.
At a presentation in Australia on Friday, Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, showed a crowd of people how he plans to colonize the red planet in a matter of years. The new rocket, known as the BFR, is set to put satellites into orbit, crews to Mars and is capable of refuelling in space.
In order to afford this, Musk said SpaceX has shrunk the size of the rocket ship it is developing to go to Mars, aiming to start construction on the first spaceship next year.
SpaceX plans its first trip to the red planet in 2022, carrying only cargo, to be followed by a manned mission in 2024. NASA’s first human mission to Mars is expected about a decade later.
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Musk had previously planned to use a suite of space vehicles to support the colonization of Mars — the Falcon 9, the Falcon Heavy, and the Dragon spacecraft — but he said SpaceX is now focused on a single, slimmer and shorter rocket instead.
“We want to make our current vehicles redundant,” he said.
“We want to have one system. If we can do that, then all the resources … can be applied to this system. I feel fairly confident that we can complete the ship and be ready for a launch in about five years.”
On average, the distance from Earth to Mars is about 225 million kilometres, and landing the first humans there, after what traditionally has been seen as a six- to nine-month journey, is an extremely ambitious goal.
Musk also added the rocket, which could carry 100 passengers, could be used for fast transport on Earth.
Travel anywhere in an hour
During the presentation, Musk proposed plans to use the rocket on Earth, which could get passengers to anywhere on the planet in under one hour.
WATCH: SpaceX’s Elon Musk reveals plans for rocket travel on earth
Musk said the vessel would take off and land vertically like a space rocket and would fly most routes, such as New York to Tokyo or London to Dubai, in about 30 minutes, and anywhere in under an hour.
SpaceX, has been able to make smaller rockets land vertically, though the technical and commercial feasibility of this new venture is yet to be determined.