When we talk about building human colonies on Mars, it seems like a distant dream that appears impossible during our life span. However, Space X CEO Elon Musk has a different story to tell and he is confident that a city on the red planet could be built within our lifetime.
In a new study, Elon Musk has shared his vision for a self-sustaining city on Mars. Outlining his vision, Musk described the advantages offered by the red planet and explored the planetary options for expanding to a space-bearing civilisation.
Musk showcased a comprehensive review of a system architecture a rocket and spaceship require to transport humans and supplies to Mars. He also compared possible vehicle designs and performance features.
Engineers and scientists currently face a major challenge – the need to cut the cost per tonne of transporting materials to the red planet by five million per cent.
"By talking about the SpaceX Mars architecture, I want to make Mars seem possible - make it seem as though it is something that we can do in our lifetime. There really is a way that anyone could go if they wanted to," said Musk, founder of the US-based space transport services company.
"History is going to bifurcate along two directions. One path is we stay on Earth forever, and then there will be some eventual extinction event," he said.
"I do not have an immediate doomsday prophecy, but eventually, history suggests, there will be some doomsday event," he added.
"The alternative is to become a space-bearing civilisation and a multi-planetary species, which I hope you would agree is the right way to go," Musk said in the study published in the journal New Space.
The UAE has unveiled plans to become the first nation to build the first city on the Red Planet. The energy-rich country is looking forward to transport people to Mars by 2117.
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum – Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai – and Shaikh Mohammad Bin
Zayed Al Nahyan – Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, have announced the 100-year national project.
Under this project, the Gulf state would join hands with specialised international organisations and scientific institutes.
The UAE will plan to prepare national cadres that can achieve scientific breakthroughs to enable the transport of people to Mars over the next decades.
Under the 100-year plan, scientific research programmes will be held at universities in the UAE. This will nurture national cadres who are specialised in space sciences.
When the announcement was made on the sidelines of the World Government Summit, representatives of 138 governments, six major international organisations, as well as leading international tech companies were present, the Gulf News reported.
The new project will involve research themes that will feature the exploration of transportation means, energy and food on Mars. It will also try to look out for faster means of transportation for travelling to and from the Red Planet.
During the presentation, a virtual presentation depicting a preliminary concept for the city on Mars was showcased.
An Emirati scientific team will first implement the scientific initiative, which will expand eventually to include international scientists and researchers that will run in parallel with the coordination of human research efforts in the field of exploring and inhabiting Mars.
“The landing of people on other planets has been a longtime dream for humans. Our aim is that the UAE will spearhead international efforts to make this dream a reality,” Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid was quoted as saying.
The short-term goal is to develop the capacities and skills of Emiratis, said Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed.
“The 2117 Mars initiative is a long-term project, which will first help develop our education, universities and research centres that will empower young Emiratis to enter all disciplines of scientific research fields,” he said.
The UAE announced its Mars Probe mission in 2015. It will send its first spacecraft to Mars in a scientific exploration mission that will land on planet in 2021.