Serial entrepreneur Elon Musk says SpaceX is developing a plan for trips to Mars that will eventually cost just $500,000 per seat. Musk founded SpaceX 10 years ago and interplanetary travel has always been one of his goals for the company. Few details were provided about the Martian voyage, but Musk did say we can expect to hear more about the plan in less than a year.
The bargain basement price for a trip to Mars also highlights Musk’s main effort behind SpaceX, to bring down the cost of delivering a payload — human or cargo — into space. In an interview with the BBC, Musk acknowledged the first seats won’t be selling for $500,000. It will take a while to get down to that price. But Musk says the half-million dollar ticket could happen a decade after trips begin.
“Land on Mars, a round-trip ticket — half a million dollars. It can be done,” he told the BBC.
Musk did hint that one of the keys to low-cost trips to the red planet would be the ability to not only refuel there, but also to reuse the entire spacecraft on the return trip. In the BBC interview Musk said by reusing the spacecraft, you end up with the same sorts of costs airlines face. Musk compared it to flying today where a 747 isn’t simply thrown away after a flight to London. Like the airplane, the cost of the spacecraft could be spread out over numerous flights rather than just a single trip making fuel one of the main expenses rather than the entire ship.