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Technology

Here’s what it will be like to travel to Mars in Elon Musk’s spaceship

For travel junkies, there is no greater adventurous destination possible than space.

And billionaire tech titan and SpaceX boss Elon Musk is working on an aggressive and admittedly ambitious time schedule to get there — in particular to Mars.

What would it be like to travel to Mars in Musk’s spaceship?

The first trip to Mars is planned for 2022, which is an “aspirational” date, according to Musk. “I feel fairly confident we can build the ship and be prepared for launch in about five years,” Musk says. That first voyage to Mars, however, would carry cargo but no people.

The orbits of Mars and Earth only sync up every two years, so the next chance for a trip to Mars would be in 2024, and that’s when Musk wants to send two rockets with passengers.

To get to Mars, Musk and his team at SpaceX have designed the spaceship, currently referred to by its codename, “BFR,” and have built the facility where it will be produced.

The flight to Mars will take between three and six months, says Musk. As such, passengers will share cabins. Each one of 40 cabins could fit between five and six passengers but will be more comfortable for two or three people. So Musk estimates each rocket will comfortably transport about 100 passengers to Mars on a single flight.

The cabins in the rocket to Mars will be 9 meters, or about 30 feet, in diameter, Musk says. That means the cabin will he 825 cubic meters, or bigger than the cabin of an A380, the large, luxurious commercial airline often used for international flights. There will be a storage area, galley and entertainment area on the spaceship, says Musk.

“I think probably a good situation for at least BFR version one,” says Musk of the travel conditions.

Musk tweeted the five-part video simulation of the SpaceX plan to get to Mars embedded above on September 25, 2017. It is based off 2016 plans, but gives a good feel of what the journey to Mars could be like.

“The great thing about going to space is there is no friction, so once you are out of the atmosphere, it is smooth as silk — no turbulence, nothing. There is no weather, there is no atmosphere,” he explains.

Upon arrival on Mars, one of the first differences space travelers will notice is the color of the night sky — as it’s reverse of what you experience on Earth: “Blue sunrise and sunset, Red during the day,” Musk tweets, responding to a photo posted by World and Science.

Also, upon landing, the very first Mars visitors will step out onto a “rocky, dusty ground,” says Musk, describing the surface of the Red Planet.

Visitors — especially the first pioneering space travelers — won’t arrive with anything waiting for them. Musk’s dream is to make the first step.

“Our goal is get you there and ensure the basic infrastructure for … survival is in place. A rough analogy is that we are trying to build the equivalent of the transcontinental railway. A vast amount of industry will need to be built on Mars by many other companies and millions of people,” says Musk, via a Reddit Ask me Anything.

That also means you won’t be able to post your epic Instagram shots immediately. When asked whether Mars travelers would be able to communicate back with Earth, Musk says: “If anyone wants to build a high bandwidth comm link to Mars, please do.”

But eventually, with further missions, crews will build cities on Mars: “Over time, terraforming Mars and making it a nice place to be,” says Musk.

To get back to planet Earth, the first missions will also have to build fuel depots on Mars, Musk says.

Musk’s mission is rooted in both a belief that a large extinction event will make the Earth uninhabitable and his persistent, unfettered optimism for the future. He founded his Hawthorne, Calif.-based aeronautics company in 2002 to “revolutionize space technology” and enable multiplanitary human existence.

“Fundamentally, the future is vastly more exciting and interesting if we are a space faring civilization and multi planetary species than if we are not. You want to be inspired by things. You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great and that is what being a space-faring civilization is all about,” says Musk.

“It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.”

Video by Mary Stevens

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Here’s what it will be like to travel to Mars in Elon Musk’s spaceship

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