SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made a surprise appearance at SXSW in Austin, Texas, over the weekend. He announced that his spaceship to Mars will be ready by next year.
After successfully sending an electric car into deep space, the SpaceX CEO is setting his sights on fulfilling his lifelong dream to colonize the Red Planet and sending Earth's citizens to Mars.
Speaking before a stoked crowd of fans, the businessman said SpaceX is doing well in building the ship and booster of the BFR, the company's rocketship targeted for travel to Mars.
"I think we will be able to do short flights, short up and down flights, probably in the first half of next year. This is a very big booster and ship," says Musk, CEO of SpaceX.
Musk had a surprise question-and-answer session with SXSW attendees.
1 Million People On Mars
In September 2016, Musk first revealed his plan to send people to Mars in case of an apocalyptic disaster, like a nuclear war, on Earth.
"We want to make sure there's enough of a seed of civilization somewhere else to bring civilization back and perhaps shorten the length of the dark ages. I think that's why it's important to get a self-sustaining base, ideally on Mars, because it's more likely to survive than a moon base," Musk said at the SXSW.
The setting up of Mars Base Alpha and the colonization of Mars will have four stages — scouting missions, putting up of a full-scale fuel factory, crewed missions to Mars, and actual colonization.
Falcon Heavy And BFR
Musk and film director Jonathan Nolan debuted an inspirational trailer about SpaceX's Falcon Heavy at the arts and music event.
The trailer featured the Falcon Heavy from its construction at SpaceX to its historic launch last Feb. 6 at Cape Canaveral's Kennedy Space Center, as well as images of Musk's Tesla Roadster and Starman.
Nolan, who produced the short video clip with Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy, said the video is not a promotional TV material about Falcon Heavy. He said it was made to capture the incredible spirit of the Falcon Heavy's launch.
"It felt extraordinary, thinking about all the people that had contributed to putting this together, and the spirit of it," says Nolan.
Falcon Heavy is SpaceX's most powerful rocket to date, with the thrust power of three Falcon 9 strapped together.
The Big Falcon Rocket will completely minimize the stage separation process by being the first single-stage rocket within the heavy-lift market. It has side boosters that are as high as 16-stories and 60-foot leg span.
The Big Falcon Rocket will feature as massive first-stage booster with 31 Raptor engines — a new rocket engine from SpaceX. The second stage, also known as the Interplanetary Transport System, measures 48 meters long and has 9-meter diameter spaceship.
This crewed spacecraft is also capable of transporting up to 100 passengers to Mars.