The Plan to Get There – Elon Musk presents the Interplanetary Transport System

The first humans on Mars look out of the airlock to see a sunset or sunrise.

Well folks, we are going to Mars.  There is an actual plan for transport to the red planet.  It was recently outlined by CEO/CTO of SpaceX, Elon Musk.

Let’s start with this gorgeous video of SpaceX’s Interplanetary Transport System through all phases of flight.

 

The ITS ship. Sometimes called BFS or ICT.
The ITS ship. Sometimes called BFS or MCT for Mars Colonial Transporter
SpaceX ITS booster and ship
The ITS Booster and Mars Colonial Transporter
Comparison of ITS and other historic Rockets
Comparison of ITS and other historic Rockets
Comparison of ITS and Saturn V
Comparison of ITS and Saturn V
ITS launching from Cape Canaveral
ITS launching from Cape Canaveral
ITS Transport and Tanker versions over Earth
ITS Transport and Tanker versions over Earth
screenshot-2016-10-28-23-43-58
The Mars Colonial Transporter will require multiple rendezvous with a fuel tanker version until it has enough fuel to make the accelerated journey to Mars and land.
ITS Ship deploying 200kW solar array
Mars Colonial Transporter deploying a 200kW solar array, ready for the two month cruise to Mars
View from the ITS transport main window on approach to Mars
View from the Mars Colonial Transport transport main window on approach to Mars
Exterior view of the ITS ship on final approach to Mars.
The MCT approaches the most dangerous part of the mission. Entry, descent, and landing, also known as EDL
The ship is engulfed in plasma from the heat of Mars entry.
The MCT is now using the Martian atmosphere to slow down to more manageable speeds
The ship transitions to vertical landing once the speed has been reduced by aerobraking
The ship transitions to vertical landing once the speed has been reduced, please stay in your seats
The ITS transport lands on Mars using propulsive landing technology pioneered by Falgon 9.
The MCT  lands on Mars using propulsive landing technology pioneered by Falcon 9
The first humans on Mars look out of the airlock.
The first humans on Mars open the airlock and prepare to make history

Great!  A huge new rocket and some pretty renderings! But plans are just plans, has anything been built yet?

Yes actually, well sort of.. first the renderings are all based on real engineering CAD models, they are not just an artist’s design. As far as “bending metal” two of the most difficult items are the gigantic fuel tanks, and the new cryogenic methane/oxygen fueled rocket engines.

Here we have a test liquid oxygen tank, it will be tested at two thirds of burst pressure on a barge in the Pacific later this year.

 

Turn the volume down for this video.. That’s a 1/3 scale, brand new rocket engine fueled by methane and oxygen .

The full presentation is an hour long, but it is not overly technical.  Please take the time to watch it in its entirety, it is well worth it. Welcome to Mars 101.

 

For much more information you should read Tim Urban’s Wait but Why story with exclusive access to SpaceX.  Please be aware that it is not appropriate for children due to language.

 

Most recently Mr. Musk held an AMA(Ask Me Anything) on Reddit, here is a basic breakdown of what was covered.
http://www.theverge.com/2016/10/23/13375220/elon-musk-reddit-ama-spacex-mars

All images and videos from SpaceX

 

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