Elon Musk says he has a new timetable for his big project on Mars, and it’s sooner than you think.
“I would be surprised if we didn’t land on Mars in five years,” Musk told Time magazine of SpaceX’s plan to bring humanity to Mars.
Musk, the 50-year-old founder and CEO of SpaceX, who was named Person of the Year by Time magazine, has big plans for the Red Planet: specifically, a self-sustaining city with water-powered hydroponic farms. Solar energy where humans could live permanently, 34 million kilometers from Earth.
“The next really important thing is to build a self-sufficient city on Mars and bring animals and creatures from Earth there,” Musk told Time magazine. “Some kind of futuristic Noah’s ark. But we are going to bring more than two, it is a bit strange when there are only two. “
In February, Greg Autry, a space policy expert and professor at Arizona State University, told Business Insider that Musk probably wouldn’t get to Mars until at least 2029, with or without help from NASA.
Other space experts say that Mars probably cannot support long-term human settlement. In April, Musk himself told the nonprofit XPrize that some astronauts “would likely die” on their way to Mars.
Musk, currently the richest man in the world with a fortune of 247,000 million dollars, according to Forbes magazine, also has a habit of setting unrealistic deadlines for technological advances on the moon.
In 2016, Musk tweeted that fully autonomous Tesla cars would be available in about two years. In 2019, he promised 1 million Tesla “robotaxis” by 2020. The Boring Company, which Musk founded in 2017 to build high-speed suburban tunnels in major cities, apparently abandoned one project in Chicago and left others in the background near by. Washington. and Baltimore.
“Punctuality is not my strong suit,” Musk admitted in an earnings conference call last year.
SpaceX, recently valued at $ 100 billion, is a major player in today’s space race: In April, the company won an exclusive contract with NASA to send American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972.
But Musk told Time magazine that he isn’t necessarily looking to make a profit on Mars. Rather, it’s about what he finds “exciting,” including the overarching goal of “making life multiplanetary and allowing humanity to become a space civilization.”
SpaceX has redefined sustainability standards in space engineering since its launch in 2002, and in 2017 it became the first company to repurpose a rocket for a NASA mission. In May, it became the first private company to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station.
Getting there was not easy. Of note, SpaceX nearly bankrupted Musk in 2008 after a series of failed rocket launches. Last month, Musk sent a letter to employees saying SpaceX might again be at “real risk of bankruptcy,” but on Monday he told Time magazine that the letter was primarily a motivational tactic.
“We must not lose leadership or slacken in complacency,” he said.
SpaceX has other problems.
Ashley Kosak, a former SpaceX engineer, submitted an article to Lioness magazine claiming to have been the victim of sexual harassment within the company for the past four years. She wrote that misogyny is “endemic” at SpaceX and that Musk “uses engineers as a resource to be harnessed rather than a team to be led.”
Later, at least five other former SpaceX employees spoke of harassment within the company, according to The Verge.
Last month, CNBC reported that several longtime SpaceX employees, including two vice presidents and a general manager, left the company after a takeover offer tied to the timing of the employee takeover of the shares.
A SpaceX spokesperson did not immediately respond to CNBC’s Make It request for comment.
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