27 April 2016, USA :
Tesla Motors and SpaceX’s Elon Musk believes he can send a rocket to Mars even sooner than expected.
“As soon as 2018,” SpaceX, a private space exploration company which touts itself as the “future of space travel,” tweeted Wednesday, bumping up plans to send its Dragon capsule to Mars by four years.
SpaceX founder and CEO Musk (who also founded PayPal and is the CEO of Tesla) has long set his eyes on Mars, developing SpaceX to address the many, many challenges associated with sending humans 34 million miles away from earth. The company’s Red Dragon mission has made significant strides in that direction in attempting to develop the world’s most powerful unmanned rocket capable of landing on Mars, collection samples, and returning to Earth.
One of the biggest challenges in landing on Mars is the fact that its atmosphere is so thin it provides little braking capacity. To land the 900kg Curiosity rover on Mars, NASA had to devise the complicated sky crane system that led to its “Seven Minutes of Terror.” A Dragon would weigh much more, perhaps about 6,000kg. To solve this problem, SpaceX plans to use an upgraded spacecraft, a Dragon2 powered by eight SuperDraco engines, to land using propulsion.
Elon Musk has promised to reveal more details about the company’s much-anticipated Mars architecture at this year’s International Astronautical Conference, which will be held in Guadalajara, Mexico, from September 26 to 30.
Images : SpaceX