Science News: 5 Issues That Are Obstacles To SpaceX's Mars PlansBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
Last week, SpaceX CEO and founder Elon Musk made an amazing announcement regarding his plans to colonize Mars. Plus, he believes that his space company can achieve that within 10 years.
Elon Musk has unveiled the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS). He claimed that this plan can result to a city on Mars with 1 million people or more. Apparently, the SpaceX founder and CEO plans to create a gigantic rocket - one that is more comfortable and larger than the Saturn V, which sent humans to the moon. It is believed to go on orbit, be refueled using multiple launches, go to Mars, enter the planet's atmosphere using aerodynamic braking to slow down and land on its tail.
This massive plan will require a lot of work and Musk also admitted that there are still a lot of things that he and his team will need to overcome. Inverse noted five obstacles that SpaceX need to fix before being able to successfully land on Mars.
1. Cosmic Radiation
While Musk has dismissed cosmic radiation as "not deadly," it is definitely something to be worried about especially for the first people on the voyage to the Red Planet. The publication pointed out that this may be one of the major reasons why NASA has not tried a crewed mission to Mars yet.
Currently, the cost of sending an individual to Mars costs about $10 billion. Elon Musk wants to make it cheaper at $200,000. The ITS will help with the decrease in cost but it still has a long way to go.
Musk's Mars plan involves using the resources found in Mars. To do that, though, he would need a massive amount of energy to harvest water in the planet, which is neither practical nor sustainable.
Red Dragon missions are believed to look to NASA for deep-space communication with Earth. SpaceX may be able to build the necessary instruments and tools by the time of ITS' launch but there have not been any information revealed yet.
5. Planetary Protection
It is unclear whether colonizing Mars with a million human beings would violate the international protocols of planetary protection. However, it is highly possible that the Martian environment would change due to human behavior.