Credit: SpaceX

Credit: SpaceX

In a major address today, SpaceX chief rocketeer, Elon Musk, blueprinted his vision for colonizing Mars.

In his talk, SpaceX founder, CEO, and Lead Designer, Elon Musk unveiled his humans to Mars plan at the 67th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), now underway in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The reviews of Musk’s presentation are coming in.

Modifications needed

First in to Inside Outer Space is reaction from Robert Zubrin, noted Red Planet visionary and leader of the Mars Society.

“In his talk today, Musk presented a number of interesting and very useful ideas. I don’t think they are practical in the form he presented them. But with a little modification, they could be made practical and very powerful,” Zubrin told Inside Outer Space.

Credit: SpaceX

Credit: SpaceX

“He’s right on the mark about using methane/oxygen propellant, which can be made on Mars; about making the spacecraft reusable and refillable on orbit.
The key thing I would change is his plan to send the whole trans-Mars propulsion system all the way to Mars and back,” Zubrin said.

Delivery capacity critique

Doing so means it can only be used once every four years. Instead he should stage off of it just short of Earth escape. Then it would loop around back to aerobrake into Earth orbit in a week, while the payload habitat craft with just a very small propulsion system for landing would fly on to Mars, Zubrin added.

Credit: Rob Varnas

Credit: Rob Varnas

“Used this way, the big Earth escape propulsion system could be used five times every launch window, instead of once every other launch window, effectively increasing its delivery capacity by a factor of 10,” Zubrin said. Alternatively, it could deliver the same payload with a system one tenth the size, which is what I would do.”

Real possibility for our time

Zubrin also said that instead of needing a 500 ton launch capability, the Musk Mars plan could send the same number of people to Mars every opportunity with a 50 ton launcher, which is what Falcon heavy will be able to do.

Credit: SpaceX

Credit: SpaceX

“The small landing propulsion unit could be refilled and flown back to low Earth orbit, used on Mars for long distance travel, or scrapped and turned into useful parts on Mars using a 3D printer,” Zubrin said.

Done in this manner, “such a transportation system could be implemented much sooner,” Zubrin concluded, “possibly before the next decade is out, making settlement of Mars a real possibility for our time.”

Apollo 11 moon walker, Buzz Aldrin, also presented his detailed Mars plan in Mexico today. Credit: Rob Varnas

Apollo 11 moon walker, Buzz Aldrin, also presented his detailed Mars plan in Mexico today.
Credit: Rob Varnas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To watch the entire Musk Mars talk, go to:

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