Some people are of the opinion that we won’t get to explore space in our life time, but that might not be true if SpaceX’s Elon Musk gets his way.
Since we landed on the moon in the late 60’s, many space agencies have been setting their sights on Mars as the next possible landing spot for planetary journeys. In a tweet from SpaceX, the company revealed that it too will be throwing its hat into that particular ring.
Planning to send Dragon to Mars as soon as 2018. Red Dragons will inform overall Mars architecture, details to come pic.twitter.com/u4nbVUNCpA
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) April 27, 2016
Humans have managed to send man-made objects to Mars, notably the Mars Rover, but Musk’s endeavours could pave the way for the first humans to land on the Red Planet and start poking around.
Whether we will actually colonise Mars some day is a different story, but, as one would guess, determining the ifs and hows of such an endeavour is exactly why these exploratory missions are important.
As far as SpaceX’s efforts are concerned, the company will attach its Red Dragon pods to its Falcon Heavy rocket, a bigger version of the Falcon 9. It will launch the complete rocket in 2018, which won’t be carrying any people but it will be the first private spaceflight company to land on another planet. And who knows, humans might be on board a similar rocket pretty soon after that.
According to The Verge, “SpaceX is sending what it calls the Red Dragon, a modified version of the spacecraft that the company uses to transport cargo to and from the International Space Station. The Red Dragon is equipped with eight SuperDraco engines that allow the capsule to land on solid ground, a technique known as a propulsive landing.”
Essentially, it will be the same technology it has used recently to land the Falcon 9 on a floating barge. Whether or not SpaceX will succeed at having it touch down on the Red Planet – an ability the rocket has but which has not yet been demonstrated, says The Verge – remains to be seen.[Image – SpaceX]