Here’s what we know so far about Elon Musk’s plan for getting humanity to Mars—he believes a million people must colonize Mars so that the human race will survive, and to make that possible, he continues to invest his time (and his money) in his aerospace company SpaceX.
So far, SpaceX has been dedicated to making the next-generation rockets. And they have been wildly successful.
However, exactly how a million humans will travel to Mars so that the planet can serve as a “backup drive” for Earth in the event of a major catastrophe is still largely a mystery. Hopefully, this is something that will be fully discussed tomorrow, as the world primes itself for his big announcement at the International Astronautical Congress to be held in Guadalajara Mexico. But we don't have to wait that long to get some information.
Earlier today, Must took to Twitter to give the world the first glimpse of a powerful rocket engine that will apparently play a huge role in his “Interplanetary Transport System (ITS).”
SpaceX propulsion just achieved first firing of the Raptor interplanetary transport engine pic.twitter.com/vRleyJvBkx
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 26, 2016
Musk’s photo shows the rocket in a static fire test, which is desired to measure performance. He also adds a few tidbits of the Raptor’s test-firing details, noting that "Production Raptor goal is specific impulse of 382 seconds and thrust of 3 MN (~310 metric tons) at 300 bar."
So just how powerful is the Raptor? It apparently has 675,000 pounds of thrust. That’s three times as powerful as the Falcon 9’s Merlin engines, making it the biggest and leanest rocket developed in SpaceX’s 14 year history.
One can only assume that the Raptor is designed to be attached to a massive multistage rocket (one that will likely be heading to the Red Planet).