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Science
13 Feb 2019

How much will a Mars trip cost you? Musk answers

Musk on the costs of a Mars trip

Elon Musk's vision of colonizing Mars is no secret, but the question of how much a trip to Mars would cost an average person has long been looming heavy.

Now, in his usual Twitter chatter, the SpaceX CEO has revealed what he believes a Mars trip will cost, and interestingly, he thinks one can sell their home and move to the Red Planet.

Here's more.

In context

Musk on the costs of a Mars trip
A Mars trip could one day cost less than $100,000

Costs

A Mars trip could one day cost less than $100,000

Responding to a tweet about how much a trip to the Moon or Mars would cost accounting for the re-usability of rockets, Musk replied that the costs would vary on the volume.

However, he added that moving to Mars one day would cost below $500,000, even maybe less than $100,000, including a return ticket if things don't work out.

READ: Musk's tweet on a Mars trip cost

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Details

How did Musk arrive at the figure?

How exactly did Musk arrive at the figure? We don't know.

What we do know is that he had earlier claimed that the massive spaceship that will purportedly take around a 100 people to Mars at a time, dubbed Starship, would probably cost less than the Falcon 9 rocket which SpaceX currently uses for launching satellites into orbit.

Musk claimed the Starship will lower costs dramatically

Falcon vs Starship

Musk claimed the Starship will lower costs dramatically

On Sunday, Musk claimed on Twitter that launching the same mass of payload that Falcon 9 carries would cost "at least 10X cheaper" using a Starship, owing to the system's size and the fact that it'd be fully reusable.

SpaceX currently charges about $62mn for one launch of the Falcon 9, which can carry a payload of 25 tons into low-Earth orbit.

The Starship will carry 100 people, 100 tons of cargo

As per Musk, the Starship will be designed to carry not just 100 people to Mars, but would also carry 100 tons of cargo at the same time.

Design

How the Starship is being designed to bring down costs

The Starship's full re-usability would limit launch costs to just refuelling and refurbishing parts, thereby lower costs in the longer haul.

Further, Musk claimed that in a "radical" shift in design, the Starship would be built using low-cost stainless steel alloys instead of lightweight but extremely strong carbon fiber composites.

Earlier, Musk had said that using steel would enable Starship to be lightweight, thereby allowing it to carry more cargo at a time.

Carbon fiber costs 66 times more than steel

Musk had, in December, explained that while steel costs $3 per kilogram, carbon fiber can cost up to $200 per kilogram - a whopping 66-fold difference in prices.

Musk also shared details about the Starship's engine, Raptor

Raptor

Musk also shared details about the Starship's engine, Raptor

Over the weekend, Musk also shared details about the truck-sized Raptor engine that will power the Starship and its booster, Super Heavy.

The SpaceX CEO even shared technical details about the engine, and said that it had already been fired six times at a SpaceX facility in Texas.

He added that further tests would be conducted soon, wherein the engine would be launched on "hops" up to a few miles high.

37 truck-sized Raptor engines will power a flight to Mars

It's expected that six truck-sized Raptor engines will power the 18-storey tall Starship, while up to 31 Raptor engines could power its 22-storey booster, Super Heavy.

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Most asked questions

When will the Mars trip tentatively take place?

When did Musk conceive of the plan to go to Mars?

What was the Starship earlier called?

What other major missions does Musk have planned?

More questions

When will the Mars trip tentatively take place?

Asked 2 minutes ago by Angel Pawar

Answered by NewsBytes

Musk plans to launch the first cargo mission to Mars by 2022, and hopes that humans can leave for Mars by 2024.

When did Musk conceive of the plan to go to Mars?

Asked 2 minutes ago by Devansh Singhal

Answered by NewsBytes

Musk and SpaceX announced a comprehensive outline to go to Mars in 2016.

What was the Starship earlier called?

Asked 2 minutes ago by Sanvi Subramanium

Answered by NewsBytes

Earlier, the Starship had been named the 'Big Falcon Rocket' or BFR.

What other major missions does Musk have planned?

Asked 2 minutes ago by Shaurya Banerjee

Answered by NewsBytes

Musk plans to send Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and a crew of artists on a trip around the moon in 2023.

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