Elon Musk Wants You To Be Able To Afford To Move to Mars
Space X gets serious about its mission to the Red Planet
Right now, Space X founder Elon Musk is giving a Steve Jobs–style presentation of his plan for Mars colonization. It's part science lecture ("Here's a slide with the different types of rocket fuel"), part time-share presentation ("It'll be, like, really fun to go, you'll have a great time."), part TEDtalk ("Technology does not automatically improve, it only improves if a lot of really strong engineering talent is applied to the problem"), part in-joke extravaganza (the slide marked FUNDING starts with "Steal Underpants").
Here's a good writeup of what we already know about the technical specs of the mission: He's talking about a 2018 start with a 2024 manned launch to Mars building on tech Space X is already using to provision the International Space Station.
From the presentation, here are three key Venn Diagrams. They are simultaneously duh and oooh:
This notion, that a vanity project for the rich could become a new frontier for the middle class, is too often overlooked. It's central to Musk's motivation and it should always have been central to our understanding of space colonization and exploration. It hasn't been, until now.