Elon Musk hinted that the Martian Colonial Transport (MTC) is not just an idea to settle people on the Red Planet. This is a new stage that will create infrastructure throughout the solar system.
It seems that just yesterday, a billionaire entrepreneur blew up rockets in the South Pacific, trying to make the place much more stable. Now in 2016, the SpaceX company Ilona Mask opened a new era in the field of space transportation systems, making rocket launches cheaper, winning NASA contracts and even proving that it is possible to return missiles to earth for reuse.
Being a space innovator means having not only the pursuit of the next goal, but also the need to look far beyond its limits. This is what Mask does.
It is no secret that in his long-term mission to make humanity an interplanetary view, he chose the Red Planet as his final destination. And some details have been conveyed to a wide audience. But before the speech at the International Astronautics Congress, scheduled for September 27, Musk did as much as tweets, which clearly showed his desire to make a big breakthrough in matters of commercial flights after Mars.
“It turns out that the MKT can go far beyond Mars, so he will need a new name ...”, wrote Musk on Friday. In the created video with the participation of Lego, he chose a new name - Interplanetary Transport System. It consists of a powerful rocket with a possible loading capacity of 100 tons and a spacecraft capable of landing on Mars. And this ensures the creation of the first self-sustaining human settlement on the Red Planet. The rocket, which will launch all this, Musk dubbed as “Big F ------ Rocket” or BFR. And we are talking about the development of a manned spacecraft on Mars - Red Dragon.
Although Mars is cited as the obvious choice for the emergence of a multi-planetary future, the planet is still far from being considered fit for life. The atmospheric pressure of Mars is 100 below ours. And this will make people not only live in a special center that allows breathing, but also protects against radiation, but also represents a serious problem for landing large loads on the surface. Low atmospheric pressure means less friction, which is necessary to slow the descent when entering the atmosphere.
Despite this, the first concept of the ITC focuses on tight deadlines, suggesting the first landing of equipment on Mars in 2022 and the first manned mission in 2024.
But just because Mars is relatively close, this does not make it the only place to master. Our moon remains a viable option. And the same variant corresponds to other moons in the Solar System, as, for example, in the case of the carbon-rich satellite of Saturn Titan. Even some of the upper layers of Venus are somewhat reminiscent of the Earth, although living in a floating habitat poses its own problems. If we can develop life support systems, then Mars is not the only place for colonization (although who would not want to see the sunset in the Martian Valley of Mariner). We could even create a habitat on Phobos (the moon of Mars) and establish a ready-made Martian outpost. It seems that Musk is thinking about other options for using the Interplanetary Transport System. This will be interesting to learn at the upcoming congress this month.
All these ideas are very interesting and good, but SpaceX received “strong slaps” from the loss of the Falcon9 rocket, as well as the launch site explosion earlier this month. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but they have shaken the reputation of the company, which guarantees the safe delivery of people in the solar system.
Although we are prone to panic over the next big step Mask, it’s still worth seeing the truth: SpaceX has done a lot in the past 15 years. And private companies such as Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origins and the aerospace giant Boeing are not going to be left behind and are developing their own plans for how to profit from this exciting space breakthrough.