Elon Musk Weighs In
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has never shied away from sharing his thoughts on space exploration. Time and again, Musk has spoken of his plans to send people to Mars, and voiced his opinions on what we should've already done on the Moon.
It is high time that humanity went beyond Earth. Should have a moon base by now and sent astronauts to Mars. The future needs to inspire. https://t.co/6HjDQnRSA5
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 13, 2017
Today, Musk weighed in once again on humanity's plans for the Moon, following President Trump's signing of a new directive telling NASA to refocus its efforts on the orbiting satellite. The signing took place on December 11, falling 45 years after NASA’s Apollo 17 mission, and two months after Vice President Pence first announced plans to send astronauts back to the Moon.
First the Moon, Then Mars
“The directive I am signing today will refocus America’s space program on human exploration and discovery,” said President Trump during the signing. “It marks a first step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972, for long-term exploration and use. This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprints — we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars, and perhaps someday, to many worlds beyond.”
At this year's International Astronautical Congress (IAC) event, Musk questioned the lack of a lunar base on the Moon, saying, "It’s 2017, I mean, we should have a lunar base by now. What the hell is going on?” During the event, he noted how SpaceX's BFR rocket could easily travel to the Moon and back to Earth.
The Moon is just the beginning, though. Beyond that, Musk wants to colonize Mars by 2024, despite the many challenges that must be overcome, including eco-terrorism, climate change, and — most importantly — how to keep humans alive. It should go without saying that getting to Mars means nothing if we can't survive once we get there.