"Musk has long said that he founded SpaceX back in 2002 chiefly to help make humanity a multiplanet species.
In September, the billionaire entrepreneur unveiled the broad outlines of SpaceX's plans to do just that. The company aims to establish a million-person city on Mars using a rocket-spaceship combo called the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS), which is in the early development stage.
Both the ITS rocket and the spaceship will be reusable. Indeed, the booster will be designed to launch at least 1,000 times, Musk said Thursday.
That level of reusability may sound like an outrageous leap from the status quo of one-and-done rocket launches, but SpaceX's work with the Falcon 9 going forward could help to the bridge the gap.
"The design intent is that the rocket can be re-flown with zero hardware changes — in other words, the only thing that changes is, you reload propellant — 10 times," Musk said Thursday, referring to the Falcon 9 first stage.
"And then, with moderate refurbishment that doesn’t have a significant effect on the cost, it can be reflown at least 100 times," Musk added. "Actually, really, we could make 1,000, but it probably isn't quite there. I'm being careful."" space.com
Edgar Rice Boroughs would be pleased as would Jules Verne. Can it really be that in twenty years or so people will walk on Mars? Babak will probably say no, but a discussion of that opinion would be worthwhile. pl