SpaceX’s president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell announced that within five or six years, people will reach Mars before the end of the decade. Shotwell spoke in an interview with CNBC where she also mentioned that trips to the moon will also become more and more common. For Shotwell, a major mission to the Martian surface is needed for people to start “thinking more about it.”
The space race is now run by private companies, and SpaceX is the most advanced in this regard. It has a very specific goal: to go to Mars as soon as possible, and to establish a colony of humans there. To be able to live on Mars still requires a lot of structures and approaches, and it’s obviously not cheap and accessible, but the company is working with private individuals who are starting to buy flights to outer space.
Mars I think it will be in this decade. And people on the Moon even soonerGwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and COO
SpaceX has been hard at work developing its powerful Starship spacecraft, intended to take payloads and people to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Even before it makes its first official flight, the spacecraft already has a busy schedule to fulfill.
“I think we need to send a large number to the surface of Mars, and then people will start thinking about it more,” said Shotwell. “I think within five or six years, people will see that that will be a real place to go,” said Shotwell.
In 2018, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa signed a deal with the company to make a trip around the Moon aboard Starship, which is scheduled to launch in 2023. In addition, NASA has selected the spacecraft to conduct the Artemis Program’s first manned trip to the lunar south pole in 2026.
SpaceX is not the only one with plans to send humans to the Red Planet. NASA sees its future lunar missions as a key step in preparing for more distant destinations and intends to launch a manned mission to Mars around 2040.
The company is still trying to conduct Starship’s first orbital test flight from Starbase, its development center in South Texas. The company depends on an environmental assessment from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct the test.
Such an assessment was scheduled to be completed late last year, but after some changes SpaceX made to its design, the FAA requested a new round of review. Therefore, the first test with Starship, including the Super Heavy rocket, is not expected to take place until June.