Yesterday during a webcast SpaceX announced its plans to send 100 people to Mars in under 80 days. When it comes to space current space travel the costs are high, however Elon Musk (SpaceX CEO) believes they can get the cost of a ticket to the red planet down to the median cost of a home.
Current rocket technology is budgeted for single use however of SpaceX can show that they can land and reuse the stage one boosters reliably it will greatly reduce the costs. Along with their self hovering Dragon 2 capsules I am beginning to believe the man.
So here is the plan. Stage 1 carries carries the shuttle into parked orbit. Stage 1 then descends back to earth and lands on the same pad it took off from. A crane hoists a fuel tanker onto the booster and it heads back to the shuttle. The shuttle will refuel and be ready for the 80 day voyage to Mars. You can watch a visual render of the whole process in the video below.
At the rate of 20 to 50 total Mars trips, it will take anywhere from 40 to 100 years to achieve a fully self-sustaining civilization with one million people on Mars, says Musk.