“You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great - and that’s what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. It’s about believing in the future and thinking that the future will be better than the past. And I can’t think of anything more exciting than going out there and being among the stars.”
At an average distance of 140 million miles, Mars is one of Earth's closest habitable neighbors. Mars is about half again as far from the Sun as Earth is, so it still has decent sunlight. It is a little cold, but we can warm it up. Its atmosphere is primarily CO2 with some nitrogen and argon and a few other trace elements, which means that we can grow plants on Mars just by compressing the atmosphere. Gravity on Mars is about 38% of that of Earth, so you would be able to lift heavy things and bound around. Furthermore, the day is remarkably close to that of Earth.
|Diameter||6,791 km / 4,220 mi|
|Day Length||24 hrs 37 min|
|Force of Gravity||38% of Earth|
|Avg Distance from Earth||225Mkm / 140Mmi|
|Age||4.5 billion years|
Starship will be the world’s most powerful launch vehicle ever developed, with the ability to carry in excess of 100 metric tonnes to Earth orbit. Drawing on an extensive history of launch vehicle and engine development programs, SpaceX has been rapidly iterating on the design of Starship with orbital-flight targeted for 2020.
Together the Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket create a reusable transportation system capable of on orbit refueling and leveraging Mars’ natural H2O and CO2 resources to refuel on the surface of Mars.
Starship launches with Starship Super Heavy booster. Booster separates, returning to Earth.
Starship enters Earths orbit while a refilling tanker launches to mate with Starship in orbit.
Tanker ship docks with Starship, refilling Starship and returning to Earth.
Once Starship has been fully refueled, it will begin its journey from Earth orbit, around the Sun and onward to Mars.
When Starship lands on Mars it will be refueled using Mars local resources of H20 and CO2.
When Starship is fully refueled it will begin Mars ascent and direct return to Earth.
Together the Starship spacecraft and the Super Heavy rocket create a reusable transportation system that is capable of on orbit refilling and leverages Mars natural H2O and CO2 resources to refuel on the surface of Mars.
Starship will enter Mars’ atmosphere at 7.5 kilometers per second and decelerate aerodynamically. The vehicle’s heat shield is designed to withstand multiple entries, but given that the vehicle is coming into Mars’ atmosphere so hot, we still expect to see some ablation of the heat shield (similar to wear and tear on a brake pad). The engineering video below simulates the physics of Mars entry for Starship.