Musk: It will take thousands of ships and 20 years to build the first city on Mars

On November 8th, according to foreign media reports, Elon Musk, chief executive of SpaceX, a US space exploration technology company, is aiming not only to get there, but also to build a sustainable base on the red planet as a real city. Can support the local population. That’s Musk and his space technology company’s long-term vision to make humans an interstellar species. On Thursday, U.S. time, Musk responded to fans on Twitter with a more detailed description of the timing and number of ships required to achieve that goal.


Recently, at the U.S. Air Force’s launch day in Los Angeles, Musk said the company’s Starship would cost only $2 million per launch. Responding to fan questions about the statement, Musk said it was the most basic requirement if the ultimate goal was to create a “self-sufficient city” on Mars. To make the city a reality, he added, SpaceX estimated that, according to his estimates, It would take about 20 years to build and launch about 1,000 starships to transport cargo, infrastructure and personnel to Mars, a process that would take about 20 years because the Earth orbits Mars about two years. So there’s only one chance to fly to Mars every two years.

Musk also talked about recent progress in the Starship, including how many payloads it will provide for Earth’s orbit. The Starship is designed to be used to the maximum, in fact, Musk points out, ideally, it can fly up to three times a day. That’s the equivalent of more than 1,000 flights per starship per year, which means that if they end up building as many “starships” as they can, according to the Falcon rockets they currently own (about 100 or so) and each carryan an average of 100 tons of cargo into Earth orbit. SpaceX will be able to transport more than 10 million tons of cargo into Earth orbit each year.

To better understand this, Musk points out that if all cargo spacecraft currently in operation are taken into account, they have a total payload of only 500 tons per year, with SpaceX’s Falcon series rockets accounting for about half.

This is a great payload, and in fact, this may exceed the short-term demand. But Musk does envision a future in which the Earth’s orbiting space station will be a busier place to orbit cargo and resupply as spacecraft to the moon and Mars prepare for space travel.

Of course, to build a permanent, sustainable city on Mars, the first step is to achieve manned flight. From now on, there is another goal, which is to get astronauts back to the moon. NASA has set a target of 2024, while SpaceX says it hopes to land the Starship on the moon as early as 2022 in preparation for the astronauts’ landing. Musk has discussed in the past that a manned mission to Mars will take place in 2024, but that goal seems unrealistic (as he has done most of his time).