Huge Mars colony eyed by SpaceX founder Elon Musk

November 25, 2012

(Credit: SpaceX)

Elon Musk, the billionaire founder and CEO of the private spaceflight company SpaceX, wants to help establish a Mars colony of up to 80,000 people by ferrying explorers there for perhaps $500,000 a trip, reports.

In Musk’s vision, the ambitious Mars settlement program would start with a pioneering group of fewer than 10 people.

Accompanying the founders of the new Mars colony would be large amounts of equipment, including machines to produce fertilizer, methane and oxygen from Mars’ atmospheric nitrogen and carbon dioxide and the planet’s subsurface water ice; and construction materials to build transparent domes, which when pressurized with Mars’ atmospheric CO2 could grow Earth crops in Martian soil.

Musk figures the colony program — which he wants to be a collaboration between government and private enterprise — would end up costing about $36 billion.