Tesla Motors and SpaceX founderÂ Elon Musk wants to eventually establish a colony on Mars of up to 80,000 people. This Mars colony would begin with a small pioneering group of about 10 people or less, and then adventurous space travellers would be ferried to the red planet for around $500,000 per journey.
It is envisaged by Musk that the Mars colony founders would take huge amounts of equipment to begin establishing a place to live. This equipment would include machines to create fertilizer, and methane and oxygen made from Mars’ atmosphere. Subsurface ice would be extracted for use as water by the colony.
Construction materials to build transparent domes would be brought from Earth. These would be pressurized with C02 from the atmosphere and would be used to grow crops in Mars’ own soil.
Once a small colony is established, with regular flights to and from Mars, Musk thinks there could be the potential to transport about 100 people at a time. Fights would not have to be one-way, as reusable spacecraft would have to be used to make the whole enterprise viable and sustainable.
Musk has calculated that the initial establishment of the colony will cost around $36 billion, which he would like to see come from both government and private sources. Musk believes there will be enough people interested in moving from Earth to Mars to make the whole enterprise viable. He said that even if one in every 100,000 people on Earth want to make the journey to Mars, that will make the colony viable.
Obviously, this is an incredibly bold and ambitious plan from Musk. I’m sure that if it weren’t for the fact that Musk has already successfully engineered some pretty incredible entrepreneurial feats already, with the founding of PayPal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX, people might think this is well beyond the realms of possibility. However, given Musk’s track record so far, he does make it seem entirely possible that, in time, a growing colony could be established on Mars. What do you think? Is it possible?