SpaceX will Build over 1,000 Starships to Move 1 Million Humans to Mars, Elon Says

In the grand scheme of things, SpaceX's difficulties in reaching orbit weren't that long ago. The conclusion of SpaceX's first Dragon mission, COTS 2, to and from the International Space Station, occurred on May 31 of last year, marking the mission's ten-year anniversary.

Only a few years before, on September 28, 2008, the company reached orbit on its fourth attempt with Falcon 1. Despite his PR inelegance and all his deadline exaggerations, it's hard to argue against SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's impressive track record when it comes to spaceflight — his most far-out statements are known to cause even skeptical space enthusiasts to froth at the mouth. 

Still, Musk's latest claim shared on Twitter, alongside a slide deck for a presentation he recently gave at SpaceX, will likely prove divisive. The plan is to "build 1000+ Starships to transport life to Mars. Basically, (very) modern Noah's Arks," Musk wrote, reiterating a statement he had made during a recent interview with TED curator Chris Anderson. In that interview, he stated that SpaceX would achieve this goal by 2050.

SpaceX has yet to launch the Mars-bound spacecraft to orbit, but it is hoping to carry out its orbital maiden flight at some point this summer — though the FAA continues to delay its environmental review of the spacecraft. Starship will be made up of two parts. The first stage will be a 230 feet tall booster powered by 33 Raptor 2 engines. The Starship spacecraft, which is 164 feet tall, will sit atop the first stage. During his presentation, Musk also teased Starship's deployment method for Starlink 2.0. 

It's understandable that the CEO of SpaceX is busy selling the dream of humanity as a spacefaring civilization, but his Mars 2050 statement risks putting him in similar territory as he was with Tesla's progress on Level 5 autonomy. The more he makes unsustainable claims, the more people will forget how far SpaceX has come in such a short amount of time.

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