Elon Musk teases US$500k tickets to Mars

Musk said the price for a Mars ticket could be around US$500,000 and potentially as low as US$100,000. He noted the price point would be “Very dependent on volume”.

The SpaceX Founder also speculated that the price would be “Low enough that most people in advanced economies could sell their home on Earth & move to Mars if they want.”

SpaceX believes it is on track for a 2023 trip to Mars

SpaceX continues to develop its Starship, a stainless steel vessel, for the first journey to Mars. Earlier this year, the company completed assembly of a test flight rocket at its Texas launch site.

Just days ago, Musk used Twitter to announce that a test run of SpaceX’s latest engine had been able to reach the power level needed to power its new rocket. “Raptor just achieved power level needed for Starship & Super Heavy,” he wrote in a tweet dated 7 February. Four days earlier, he had posted a photograph of the first test of the flight-ready engine.

The engine, dubbed the ‘Raptor’, had its first test fire back in September 2016. It was initially intended to be used on an unmanned Mars launch in 2018.

The Starship is powered by liquid oxygen and methane and Musk has raised the possibility that fuelling facilities could be built on Mars to enable a return flight.

The company now expects to be ready for the first trip to Mars by 2023. Last year, it was announced that Yusaku Maezawa, the billionaire Japanese founder of clothes retailer Zozotown, had purchased all the tickets on SpaceX’s planned first flight to the moon. Maezawa plans to take a group of artists with him and curate an exhibition of their moon-inspired work on their return.

Those unable to wait until 2023 for a trip to either Mars or the moon may have to settle for a stay at the luxury space hotel Aurora Station. Positioned in low-Earth orbit some 322 kilometres (200 miles above Earth), it will open for business in 2022. A stay at the hotel, which includes 12 days of astronaut training, will set you back around US$9.5 million.

Musk has previously proposed moving to Mars

SpaceX now has one less rival in the space migration market after it was revealed earlier this week that Netherlands-based company Mars One had filed for bankruptcy. Mars One had planned to send six one-way flights, each with four passengers, to the red planet. More than 200,000 people had applied to be part of the first settlement. They were supposed to leave in 2024 but the company ran into financial trouble.

Musk has previously considered moving to Mars himself and once estimated there was a “70% chance” he would transfer there permanently.

He has acknowledged the dangers inherent in space tourism, saying that the “probability of dying on Mars is much higher than Earth.”

“There’s a good chance of death, going in a little can through deep space,” he mused.

The taste of danger has not dissuaded Musk from engaging in a strange comic flirtation with a Mars-themed Twitter account. “Send me hot pics & I’ll be right over,” he tweeted at the novelty account, ending with a winking face emoji.

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