Elon Musk is aiming to land spaceships on Mars in 2022

Moon sets

To hit those deadlines, SpaceX plans to start building the first spaceship by the middle of next year, he said.

But, Mr Worden said that for private space fairing firms, such as Nasa, Mars should be the next goal.

Elon Musk has big space ambitions (are there any other kind?), and stoked interest in a pending "really special" announcement by teasing an image of a proposed moon base Thursday night. Once colonization is under way, then begins the task of "making it a nice place to be". "This will enable the creation of a lunar base".

Mars, the almost airless planet, is about 140 million miles from Earth the journey to the planet would take around six to nine months. "Beats the hell out of being a single-planet species". If he has his way, Mars colonizers will eventually travel in style in the BFR, which will accommodate around 100 people spread out over 40 cabins, and include large common areas and an entertainment system. Following the two projected missions in 2022, Musk said SpaceX plans to send four more rockets to the red planet during the next available window in 2024. Musk's plan is to have them mine water and extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to make fuel for return missions.

"In order to land on places like the Moon, where there is no atmosphere and certainly no runways, or to land on Mars where the atmosphere is too thin, even if there were runways to land with the wing, you have to get the propulsive landing flawless", Mr Musk said. "It will land with so much precision, it will land back on its launch mounts".

SpaceX aims to do 30 launches next year.

Worden, who teasingly claimed he was asleep when the rocket carrying him into orbit launched, spoke warmly - if regretfully - about his moonwalk in 1971: "I practiced it so many times that I did it really quickly".



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