There’s no stopping Elon Musk in his ambition to colonize Mars. In case you missed it, the SpaceX CEO has revealed his grand plan to take humans to Mars through their Interplanetary Transport System. This was challenged by Boeing who said it will beat them to such a space first. SpaceX responded by saying they will send their unmanned spacecraft Dragon (pictured above) to Mars.
Notwithstanding that threat, Musk has revealed so much more via a Reddit AMA session about what to do around Mars when the humans already get there.
One of the greatest pieces in his recent revelations is his vision of a permanent colony in Mars which would entail a huge number of “miner/tunneling droids.” Musk sees the start of civilization in Mars with domes made of carbon and glass. What these mining robots will essentially do is build large volumes of underground pressurized space for industrial activity.
Moreover, he explained that the colony, with the help of Dragon, will later serve in finding water from the surface of the red planet to be converted into the fuel of visiting spacecraft. Quite an ambitious plan if you ask me, but Musk is not holding back with his promises.
He said he envisions geodesic domes on the surface made with glass panes supported by carbon fibre frames. Such structures would have additional areas mined out below the surface by robots for “industrial” uses.
“Initially, glass panes with carbon fibre frames to build geodesic domes on the surface, plus a lot of miner/tunnelling droids,” Musk wrote. “With the latter, you can build out a huge amount of pressurized space for industrial operations and leave the glass domes for green living space.”
Musk also explained how his colony would get to the point where it can reliably refuel spacecraft all by itself. Dragon capsules would serve as scouts, helping find the “best way” to extract water for fuel reactions. An unmanned Heart of Gold spaceship would then deliver the basics for a propellant plant, while the first crewed mission would finish that plant.
After that, SpaceX would double the number of flights between each ideal Earth-Mars rendezvous (every 26 months) until the colony can reliably produce fuel by itself.