Are you ready to become a Martian? If you are, start saving now because the ticket price to Mars has been released. A trip to Mars on one of SpaceX’s famous Starships could one day cost around $500,000. The goal is to keep the price low enough that it will be appealing for us Earthing’s to give up our homes and colonize Mars.
The dream started with BFR, Big Falcon Rocket. This is a privately funded, fully reusable launch vehicle developed by SpaceX. BFR is essentially the evolution of SpaceX previous models, Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. This Rocket utilizes the new Raptor engine technology that SpaceX has been keeping under wraps since development started in 2012. The BFR has since been renamed “Starship” by SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk. Starship’s first stage of development, called Starship Super Heavy, is underway today.
The key to launching Starship Super Heavy is its Raptor engines. Very recently, according to Elon Musk, the engine has reached the necessary power levels needed to launch Starship. The Starship booster will need 31 of these engines to propel it into space and the ship will use just 7. The engines run on liquid oxygen and methane instead of traditional rocket propellant. This is fuel source gives the first brave Mars explorers the ability to harvest fuel sources from the Red Planet in order to return home. Colonizers could actually plant crops that will fuel their trip home.
The Starship’s suborbital prototype is projected to be ready for high velocity, high altitude testing in June of 2019. Its first suborbital flight could take place as soon as 2020. The Starship is part of Elon Musk’s vision for an Interplanetary Transport System that could transform the human race into an Interplanetary species. SpaceX aims to send its first people to Mars as early as 2024.
Starship’s vast cargo area and 40 cabins that could fit up to 240 passengers total opens up the possibilities for sub-orbital commercial uses for this spacecraft as well. Besides Satellite deliveries and cargo transport, one of the commercial goals is to have the capability to carry passengers from any point on the earth to another in under one hour.
SpaceX currently uses its Falcon 9 model to deliver satellites into space and cost the company around 7 billion dollars to develop. However, Elon Musk claims that the new Starship could potentially be built for much less, possibly as little as 62 million dollars. By keeping costs down, a ticket to fly to Mars becomes more attainable. The ship will also be made of stainless steel. Musk is confident that the stainless-steel ship will be lighter than aluminum or carbon fiber because of its strength to weight ratio and its reduced need for heat shielding, plus it costs way less.