KERMIT THE FROG impersonator and professional boring person Elon Musk has decided it's time to go big on rockets as a source for good, with plans for a Mars mission by 2022 and for rockets to transport passengers between continents on planet Earth in under an hour.
Musk says his Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), currently in use for SpaceX missions, can be adapted to get passengers from London to New York in 38 minutes. Suck on that Concorde.
The South African entrepreneur also believes he can get the first cargo mission to Mars in 2022. "This is not a typo, but it is very aspirational," he said, referring to a slide during his speech to the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia.
He added that the 2022 mission will be a precursor to a manned mission pencilled in for 2024 (weather permitting).
But it's his aspirations for Earth-based travel that have come out of the blue, more or less. He's already boring for America, as he attempts to get his Hyperloop up and running - the public transport equivalent of a spitball in a McDonald's straw.
More importantly for progress, where Concorde came with a hefty surcharge, Musk believes he can deliver based on a similar tariff to current airfares.
Because of the relative constraints of earthly travel, this means that it will be quicker to travel to Australia than to try and drive down the Old Kent Road in rush hour and at 18,000mph, we're talking more than 1,800 times the speed.
The BFR is set to replace the current Falcon rocket used by SpaceX and is capable of carrying a payload of 150 tonnes, five times its predecessor, and the good news for anyone who has seen the ‘hilarious' blooper reel of exploding SpaceX rockets, it will be able to land without legs and with an engine failure under its belt.
At 106m in height and 9m wide, it's slightly smaller than the existing craft, and by concentrating all the companies efforts into developing a single craft for both ventures, he believes he can make it affordable.
Musk is not above getting ahead of himself in terms of ambition and timeline, in the same way that the sea is not above the sky, so if these numbers start to slip, don't be too surprised.
That said, his craft are a lot less explody than they were and as a result costs are coming down as the concept of a reusable rocket brings the price of sending a satellite into orbit down by millions.
He has also said that he plans to demonstrate its "point-to-point" potential - including New York to Shanghai in less time than it takes a Ryanair stewardess to sell you a £5 cup of coffee and a scratchcard - with his current fleet first.
Not only to 'prove it's safe', but so that future production could move to the BFR, which would also start transferring people up to the International Space Station (ISS) and onto a permanent moon base, which presumably would be used as an intergalactic Little Chef on the way to Mars, but without a lollipop when you finish eating.
In the words of Woody from Toy Story… Wind The Frog... µ
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