Mars: The Secret Science has been looking at the work being done to put humans on the Red Planet and this episode Elon Musk explains his plans.
The billionaire behind Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity is always keen to be at the forefront of technology and push the limits, to this end he is planning to enable the colonization of Mars.
His thinking goes along the lines that we only have two choices. We stay on Earth and eventually an extinction level event will occur and wipe us out or we head into space and colonize.
He thinks that the only way you would get lots of people wanting to go to Mars who could afford to go, is by using the same sort of economies we see in the current airliner business.
So roughly it would cost about $10 billion per person to go to Mars, clearly a bit out of reach. But an airliner ticket would cost $180K if we only used them once, so you can see how the cost could be brought down. Musk thinks it would need to hit around the median house cost, something about $200K per person.
To achieve this the essentials are full reusability, refilling in orbit, propellant production on Mars and the right propellant.
You can watch him talking about his plans in this clip from earlier this year.
Space X also have some very cool ideas about how to fuel and power interplanetary travel.
Watch Mars: The Secret Science – Conquering the New Frontier at 9 PM on Science Channel.