SpaceX Mars Rocket Will Begin Test Flights as Early as 2019
Eccentric billionaire and SpaceX founder Elon Musk broke the news during his appearance at the South By Southwest festival this past weekend (he appears to be a big fan of Westworld), claiming that the SpaceX Mars rocket is making steady progress, and will very likely be making short test flights starting next year.
Considering Musk has said in the past that he believes SpaceX will send a rocket all the way to Mars by 2022, some early tests in 2019 would be a great sign that those goals can be met. After the Falcon Heavy test flight ended so successfully, SpaceX is pushing forward on those plans, which include sending humans to Mars by 2024.
Elon Musk Answers Your Questions! Join us tomorrow for a very special Q&A with SpaceX and Tesla CEO @ElonMusk. This event will be livestreamed - stay tuned for more details. #SXSW https://t.co/nJWaaS6bAy pic.twitter.com/qn0NRX1DEz— SXSW (@sxsw) March 11, 2018
Assuming the Tesla that Musk launched into space aboard the Falcon Heavy doesn't actually reach the Red Planet, this rocket would be one of the first commercial objects (i.e. not sent by NASA or other government space agencies) to reach Mars. Musk admitted that his timelines tended to lean optimistic, although he maintains his confidence in them and said the following at SXSW:
The rocket intended to make this voyage isn't the Falcon 9 or even the Falcon Heavy rocket, but a newer model that SpaceX is still putting together called the BFR - officially short for "Big Falcon Rocket", but since the name was partly inspired by Doom's BFG weapon, it's probably not unintentional if you first saw that acronym a different way.
Beyond simply talking SpaceX, Musk also explained his many fears about the world's future, as artificial intelligence grows more advanced and continues to go unregulated. And with encroaching climate change and a potential World War III as international peace grows shaky, he believes humans may need to travel to Mars to keep themselves alive.
Granted, there's no reason why we won't end up doing the same things on Mars, but hopefully we'll know better by then.