SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has set an ambitious target for the company's planned Mars base, claiming that construction on the Red Planet will be finished by 2028.
It remains to be seen whether SpaceX will meet the target, especially since Musk's other company, Tesla, has suffered from inconsistencies in reaching its goals, and amid criticism that it is impossible to send humans to Mars.
SpaceX Mars Base Alpha, Up By 2028
Elon Musk recently tweeted a rendered image of SpaceX's planned Mars Base Alpha. It looks mostly what many people expect a man-made structure would look like on the Red Planet, with massive rockets ready for passengers and roads leading to domes in the distance. One of the domes even looks like it is filled with vegetation.
A follow-up tweet by a user asked Musk when the Mars Base Alpha will be taken with a real photograph instead of a render. The SpaceX CEO gave a surprisingly specific reply.
Probably 2028 for a base to be built — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 21, 2018
This gives SpaceX exactly 10 years to build Mars Base Alpha, which actually coincides with the company's previously announced plans.
SpaceX BFR Under Construction
SpaceX is planning to launch the first test flights of the Big Falcon Rocket in the coming years, with the target of sending a pair of unmanned BFR spacecraft to Mars in 2022 and two more in 2024. Two crewed BFR spacecraft may also be sent to Mars that year, which may allow work on Mars Base Alpha to start as each of the unmanned rockets will be capable of carrying up to 100 tons of supplies to the Red Planet.
The BFR, however, has not even been built yet, though it is already in early testing phases after the successful launches of the Falcon and Falcon Heavy rockets.
However, the first BFR private passenger has already signed up. It is none other than Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, the founder of Zozotown which is the biggest online clothing retailer in his home country. Maezawa purchased all the seats on the BFR's first private trip to the moon, and will be taking with him up to eight artists for the ride.
Maezawa is scheduled to head to the moon in 2023, five years before Musk's target Mars Base Alpha completion date. Will SpaceX be able to deliver on these targets? We will just have to wait to find out.