SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk will talk about his plans for colonizing planed Mars at the International Astronautical Congress event in Guadalajara, Mexico today. Among the anticipated topics to be discussed will be the new Raptor rocket engine that will propel the Mars Colonial Transporter or Interplanetary Transport System, which will one day take humans to Mars and beyond.
SpaceX has already successfully test-fired the new rocket engine, although it did not reveal where it took place. Once the Mars Colonial Transporter was determined to be capable of going to distances beyond the Red Planet, it was then changed to the Interplanetary Transport System.
On Twitter, Musk says that the rocket engine is powered by methane and liquid oxygen. Its nozzle is around 4.3 meters in diameter. Overall, the engine is expected to generate up to 3 million newtons of force and a chamber pressure three times the power of the Merlin engines that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket currently uses. More details will be announced during the conference.
Others have expressed their support for Musk’s goal. Among them is Bill Ostrove, who said that everything Musk does is toward accomplishing goals.
“Everything he’s doing, at least in his mind, is a step in that direction,” said Bill Ostrove, aerospace and defense analyst for market research firm Forecast International. “Everything is geared toward that ultimate goal of establishing these colonies on Mars.”
The Interplanetary Transport System could bring humans to Mars by 2024. These explorers would arrive on the planet a year later.
In 2018, SpaceX is also expected to launch an unmanned Dragon spacecraft to Mars. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) also agreed to help the company for that mission.
As of now, robotics missions to the Red Planet normally take NASA eight months. However, it was announced that scientists are looking for ways that will reduce that duration for human missions.