Humanity could reach the Red Planet and the Moon sooner than we think.
Gwen Shotwell, SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), said a manned mission to Mars could happen before the end of 2020.
“I think it will be in this decade, yes. People are on the moon, sooner.” Shotwell told CNBC Recently.
“I think we need to deliver a significant amount to the surface of Mars, and then people will start to think more seriously about it,” she added. “And then I think in five or six years, people will see that it’s a real place to go.”
Elon Musk’s company has set itself the ambitious mission of making space travel more accessible to humanity.
SpaceX is developing a reusable rocket called Starship that aims to take people to the Moon, Mars and other places. For example, Japanese billionaire Yasuko Maezawa booked the rocket for a trip around the moon in 2023.
While SpaceX has yet to bring humans to the Moon, the company has made successful flights to the International Space Station (ISS).
NASA also selected the Starship for the Artemis program, which aims to put astronauts near the moon’s south pole in 2025.
10 years too soon?
But another Artemis mission is to get from the Moon to Mars around 2040, about 10 years after Shotwell’s predictions.
This means that SpaceX could outperform NASA but since Musk provides a lot of technical equipment to NASA, they may end up working together.
The latest mission between NASA and SpaceX occurred last Friday after SpaceX’s third long-duration team of astronauts returned to the International Space Station safely back to Earth to finish months of orbital research from space-grown peppers to robotics.
SpaceX is also working on the first-ever orbital test flight of the Starship, from its base in Texas.
However, it is currently awaiting an environmental assessment from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
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