Elon Musk Will Unveil "Unexpected" Details About His Mars Spaceship This Friday

Tuesday, 26 September 2017 - 11:24AM
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Technology
SpaceX
Tuesday, 26 September 2017 - 11:24AM
Elon Musk Will Unveil "Unexpected" Details About His Mars Spaceship This Friday
Image credit: SpaceX
Around this time last year, at the 67th annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Mexico, Elon Musk unveiled his plan colonize Mars via his SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System (ITS). With this year's IAC scheduled to go down this Friday in Australia, Musk took to social media to tease "major improvements" and "unexpected applications" for what he's developing, which has the space tech world buzzing over what this real-world Tony Stark is cooking up in his lab.


Earlier this summer, someone on Twitter asked Musk when we could expect updates on the Mars project and he said "maybe the upcoming IAC in Adelaide." The "maybe" is now a "definitely," as Musk confirmed on Instagram yesterday with re-shared videos of the SpaceX Interplanetary Spaceship and Rocket design simulation and a caption that promised a "new version." He also doubled down on the tease that "certain aspects of the new design and its applications will be unexpected."

A few things we know about the project from Musk's previous presentation and various tweets are that the ship would carry up to 100 colonists, the cost for someone to travel to Mars will decrease significantly (from an estimated $10 billion to a more modest $200,000), the rockets and ship would use lighter materials and reusable technology, the vacuum-optimized engines would cut the one-way journey to around 3 months, and that there will be an on-board pizza shop. The pizza shop was already a major curveball and possibility the biggest selling point, so I don't know what kind of improvements or unexpected uses would top it, but thinking outside of the box is Musk's middle name (it's actually Reeve).

The Verge is banking on the announcement of a smaller vehicle. The current version of the ITS would be over 400 feet tall with a 40-foot diameter. When responding to eager fans on Twitter a couple months ago, Musk hinted that a "9m diameter vehicle fits in our existing factories...", which would mean that the ship has been scaled down to a fourth of its original size. He also said that the new version "addresses the most fundamental flaw in V1: how to pay for development & operation of giant rockets." So while smartphones are getting bigger and more expensive, Musk is moving in the opposite direction to make his dreams of turning humans into Martians come true.

Musk's presentation is scheduled for Friday at 12:30 AM ET. There will be a live stream for those of us not down under.
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