With the possibility of travel to Mars in the near future, companies like SpaceX are becoming closer and closer to achieving it. Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, believes that travel to Mars is a lot closer than we think, and for a much more affordable price. Originally, when NASA launched the idea, the thought of going to mars was going to cost a fortune. But with SpaceX taking the lead, Musk says we may be able to go there for under $500 000 and he hopes to reduce that to under $100 000. Additionally, he states that if they can make reusable rockets, the tickets home will be free. He is pricing it in hopes that people would be able to sell their house and move to mars if they would like to.
Over the past month or so, SpaceX has been working tirelessly trying to get their rockets off the ground; both ending in disaster. Which brings up the question: this project be delayed? Musk stated on twitter that he thinks even with the recent delays and malfunctions they will be able to reach Mars by 2024, but other professionals in the field disagree as it seems impossible.
On February 19, 2021, NASA’s newest mars rover, Perseverance, landed on mars; a phenomenal leap for space travel. Unlike any of the past rovers, this one takes pictures in colour, which has changed the views of a lot of people. For example, as the rover drilled into the ground it was found that the red planet is not as red as many people think. Only the top layer of Mars is red, and the inside is a beige-white colour; the air leaving a rust-like reside on the exterior. With the first colour pictures already coming into the public eye, this is a monumental step for space travel. Additionally, there is helicopter attached to the belly of the Perseverance rover, called Ingenuity. This will remain attached for 30-60 days. Both the helicopter and the rover are performing as expected.
After the 30-60 day period, Ingenuity will be launched and will have a 30-martian-day test window to see if it will survive the nights on mars which can go below –90 degrees Celsius. If it survives, the team at NASA will go ahead with the very first flight of an aircraft to another world. Even if the helicopter hovers and takes off, 90% of the mission goals will be achieved, and it will be an important moment for our future.
In terms of SpaceX, its previous two explosive launches were not exactly promising for the future, but the FAA (Federal Flight administration) has cleared the investigation, and they are now prepared for their next launch, in which Musk tweeted that there’s: “A good chance of flying this week!”
Space travel will always be evolving, and with an assortment of technology becoming increasingly available it is very possible that we will witness Mars travel in the next decade.
Written by Eva Ramsay