SpaceX’s plan to colonize Mars, explained
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SpaceX’s plan to colonize Mars, explained

August 14, 2019

Elon Musk: What I really want to try to achieve
here is to make Mars seem possible. Make it seem as though it’s something we
can do in our lifetimes. Loren: Elon Musk finally told the world his
vision for colonizing Mars — and it proved to be one hell of a show. His talk in Mexico drew insane crowds. People actually stampeded into the hall where
he spoke to get a good seat. They were then treated to a one-hour breakdown
of all the vehicles Musk wants to build to take humans to the Red Planet. So let’s unwrap all of this, and talk about
what it means. It starts off like any science fiction: you
need a spaceship. A vehicle to carry up to 100 passengers, maybe
more, and 450 tons of cargo to Mars. First, the spaceship will be launched into
Earth orbit, thanks to a massive rocket booster. And I mean massive. When completed, this rocket would be bigger
and more powerful than NASA’s Saturn V rocket. The thing would be powered by a combination
of 42 Raptor engines. That’s the new powerful engine that SpaceX
has been working on. The company just did its first full-scale
test of the engine the other day too. But unlike the kerosene engines that power
the Falcon 9, these engines run on methane. More on why later. So the booster takes the spaceship into orbit. The two vehicles separate and the booster
comes back to land on Earth. It’s one of SpaceX’s signature moves,
similar to how the Falcon 9 lands post-launch. But once that booster lands, it quickly gears
up for its next launch of a propellant tank. That tank then docks with the spaceship in
orbit, filling it up with the “gas” it needs to get to Mars. Musk said it’d take maybe three to five
propellant tanks to fully fuel the spaceship’s trip. Then the spaceship is off to Mars. Once it arrives, the entire thing lands using
its engines to lower itself down to the ground. It’s a technique called supersonic retro
propulsion, and again it’s just like the Falcon 9 landings. It’s also a way of getting super heavy payloads
safely down to Mars, which doesn’t have a very thick atmosphere to help slow falling
objects. After letting out its passengers, eventually
the spaceship will lift off and come back to Earth. And where will it get the fuel for that return
trip? On Mars. That’s why SpaceX is using methane, because
it can be made from the carbon dioxide in the planet’s atmosphere and possible subsurface
water. That saves SpaceX from bringing over all of
the fuel for the return trip beforehand. Will Pomerantz: Elon and the team at SpaceX
have showed really well that nothing speaks for itself quite like results. So I think the most important thing for Elon
and for everyone who backs Elon and the team at SpaceX who do it, is to go out and take
some of these technologies that that he showed off today like the giant composite tanks and
the raptor engines and just keep developing those and keep testing those. Loren: So sounds like he’s thought it through,
right? Well for all that he did say, Musk left out
a few key parts about his human settlement idea. Namely, how these people are going to survive. A good analogy for living on Mars is kind
of like living in Antarctica… but worse. Bill Nye: We have a science base in Antarctica
all the time, hundreds of people there, all the time. But you don’t go there to raise a family,
you don’t build playgrounds. I love SpaceX, I love what they are doing,
it is fantastic. They have changed the way people think about
space exploration. But I don’t think you want a colony on Mars,
I’m open minded of course, but it… I just, if you’ve ever been to Antarctica
there’s nothing to eat. There is nothing to drink. And, uh, you can breathe. On Mars you can’t breathe. You can’t breathe, everybody, that’s serious. Yet Musk said nothing about the types of habitats
people would live in on Mars, and very little about how they would eat, drink, and breathe. And when asked about certain dangers to human
health posed by a space voyage — like deep-space radiation or solar flares — he had this
to say. Elon Musk: So, I actually think the radiation
thing is often brought up, but I think it is not too big of a deal. There’s some risk of radiation, um, but its
not deadly. Loren: There was also little talk of in-space
life-support systems or perhaps the biggest issue of all: microgravity. Living in space can lead to severe bone density
and muscle loss. And things at Mars may not be much better. The planet has one-third the gravity of Earth,
which could also wreak havoc on the body. We don’t know yet. But for SpaceX, these problems aren’t the
company’s primary concern. In fact, Musk said that the first colonists
would need to be willing to risk death. Elon Musk: I mean, the goal of SpaceX is really
to build the transport system. Its like building the Union-Pacific Railroad. And once that transport system is built then
there’s a tremendous opportunity for anyone who wants to go to Mars and create something
new or build the foundations of a new planet. Loren: But even some of the engineering claims
made by Musk were a little ambitious. For instance, he claimed that the spaceship
could eventually make the trip to Mars in just 80 days if accelerated fast enough. That’s an insane estimate given that most
trips to Mars take upwards of 6 months. Getting to such a speed would take a lot of
energy and then a lot of energy to brake. He also envisions not just one spaceship going
to Mars at one time, but eventually up to 1,000. Let’s do the math there. The launch window for Mars opens up every
26 months. So you need to launch 1,000 ships before that
window opens up. And since each spaceship requires three fuel
launches, that’s 3,000 launches in a 26-month time period. That’s more than 15 times the world’s
current launch rate. And then there’s the timeline and the cost
estimates — both of which seem super optimistic. Musk hopes to complete the first development
spaceship in four years and then send the first big spaceship to Mars as early as 2024. That’s ambitious given SpaceX hasn’t ever
launched people into space. He also says that factors like reusability
and propellant production on Mars means the entire thing can be done for way less than
current Mars estimates. The ultimate result: 1 million people living
on mars in the next 40-100 years. But that timeline is very tentative, especially
since SpaceX isn’t putting a lot of resources into the Mars plan just yet, though. Less than 5 percent of the company’s resources
are going to the development of this interplanetary transport system. And even with these lower cost estimates,
Musk says he can’t do it all alone, hinting at the need for either partnerships with NASA
or others in the private industry. So it’s clear: this is just the starting
off point. There’s a lot of problems to solve ahead. But Musk says there is only one way to solve
them. Elon Musk: Technology doesn’t automatically
improve. It only approves if a lot of really strong
engineering talent is applied to the problem that it improves. Bill Nye: Oh yeah, just join The Planetary
Society, don’t forget that. No so, at the Planetary Society we have 52,000
members, and now after this meeting I hope we have 53,000, of people who love space and
want to explore space. And, uh, they are all running to the front
row today. I mean those people, just this um, its an
exciting time if we could lower the cost of getting to space, it would be great.


  • Reply DL_Knight May 26, 2019 at 4:30 am

    Nah we will fine

  • Reply nabiha s May 27, 2019 at 1:26 am

    Why can't we take care of our planet Earth instead of wasting money to colonize Mars ?

  • Reply II DS II May 27, 2019 at 8:11 am

    1st person needs to wait till 2030 to go to mars. And

  • Reply MJ HearT May 27, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    i think u should travel all the notorious prisoner in jail to mars if u want experiment

  • Reply Slacker G Guitar Skills May 29, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    Nothing adds credibility to a science video like having Bill Nye open his pie hole and admit that he's "open minded" . We need someone on Mars who is expert in making baking soda and vinegar volcano's.

  • Reply Rooski May 29, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    Billy nye the science guy

  • Reply Miss Mild May 30, 2019 at 3:25 am

    Same year in June Stephen Petranek was live telling ppl how we can live on Mars, this guy is saying the same thing making it sound like it’s his idea 😂🥚

  • Reply Jonezx2020 May 30, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    its gonna be another 20 years before we can reach mars

  • Reply William B May 31, 2019 at 12:52 am

    2:10 Methane is made using both Co2 and H2O.

  • Reply Victor Mazzari June 1, 2019 at 1:26 am

    Well hey , maybe we send all of those Mexicans to Mars instead of sending them to the United States

  • Reply david mccallum June 2, 2019 at 2:08 am

    There is already people on a base there, and on the moon doing mining for helium 3.
    There are no typical fuels being used for travel…. sorry.

  • Reply amar deep singh June 2, 2019 at 4:33 am

    At least he is trying to save the world in a practical way

  • Reply Jim Beck June 2, 2019 at 5:32 am

    So far no-one has been completely disconnected from society. The biosphere project was a complete disaster. The first step is to place a crew and everything they will need to survive for two years into an earth orbit. This should be equipped with a quick abort system to get the crew back to earth safely. Personally, I agree with Nye putting a colony on Mars is a very bad idea.

  • Reply azeem June 2, 2019 at 5:42 am

    It's gonna be another challenger disaster, this stuff reminds me of challenger

  • Reply SasaiPapzee Ochea June 2, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    Loren Grush you looks so pretty..

  • Reply David arruda June 3, 2019 at 3:42 am

    So when civilians can go to Mars expect about eight and a half months of listening to screaming babies , with no window seats

  • Reply Moose Racks June 3, 2019 at 1:31 pm


  • Reply Species 5618 June 3, 2019 at 10:51 pm

    Bill Nye is not a scientist. He was a stand up comic (Look it up) who struggled to get a batchelor's degree in mechanics. He know nothing of applied science. Why are we listening to him?

  • Reply cheapbounds June 4, 2019 at 2:35 am

    FlyingTurdToursTM takes you on a trip to Mars no expense. Contact us 1-800-TURD2-MARS

  • Reply Micco Ronquillo June 4, 2019 at 11:27 am


    Before doing that
    Try making earth better😑
    Like bill nye tryna say

  • Reply Mario Lazaro June 4, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    Colonize the moon first

  • Reply RDC June 4, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    NASA has a plan.

  • Reply gloria lewis June 5, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    There is a colony of humans on Mars already. Haven't you heard? They have been there for a long time.

  • Reply Chris Farley June 6, 2019 at 11:32 am

    Look at the difference between people living in the land of Asia and people living in Africa. The difference between them is huge. Imagine what living on a land like mars would do to humans. They might adapt into monsters….. Or they might become gorgeous lol I personally won’t risk it.

  • Reply Kevin Merdy June 8, 2019 at 11:48 pm

    What a joke!…Mars is already colonized by us and others. Please study the Biefeld-Brown Effect to learn how our secret space program became possible. Also please do your historical due diligence particularly with respect to Nikola Tesla's flying saucer project and also German secret weapons including high-voltage propulsion flying saucers because you have HUGE knowledge gaps in your video and sound ridiculous to intelligent knowledgeable researchers.

  • Reply ‎ ‎ June 9, 2019 at 10:50 pm

    Humano kind without god is nothing, they keep looking for answers that will never come..

  • Reply Izec M June 10, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    This guy says radiation is not a big deal. Really?

  • Reply Michael Stoecker June 12, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    Excuse me idiots don't we have to get humans through the radiation belt first it's never been done

  • Reply true gaming studios June 14, 2019 at 9:48 am

    Un rape😀😀😀

  • Reply saveg squad June 16, 2019 at 9:16 pm

    talk is cheap, elon musk" radiation" it,s not deadly, that says it all, these people are dreamers.

  • Reply Tony .R June 18, 2019 at 12:05 pm

    Moon landing Fraud 2.0

  • Reply TheManChise June 19, 2019 at 2:37 am

    Eating and breathing is overrated..give me Mars now or bust..

  • Reply JoMac June 21, 2019 at 5:12 am

    "I do think there's a lot of hype about Mars that is nonsense. Musk and Bezos, they're talking about putting colonies on Mars, that's nonsense." Frank Borman Gemini 7, Apollo 8

  • Reply Chuck Brown June 21, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    I can never understand why Mars? It's such a long trip to a horrible place.

  • Reply fabio contini June 21, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    a quando un piano per colonizzare il deserto del sahara?

  • Reply Victor Mazzari June 23, 2019 at 12:30 am

    It can’t be cold everywhere on Mars. It’s been reported to be 80 degrees at its equator

  • Reply Jim Mank Jr. June 24, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    I have a great idea to help with us living at Mars but don't know how to contact Elon Musk

  • Reply Nytes1982 June 25, 2019 at 2:11 am

    Bill Nye from the "Planetary Society" surely doesn't believe enough that we could colonise the mars one day. Very odd.
    From his thinking why don't we stop all progress? I like Bill, don't get me wrong, but he needs to believe in the future generation a bit more.

  • Reply Jo ker June 26, 2019 at 1:40 am

    There are people who dont think like Elon do

  • Reply raymond cancel June 29, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    The best idea is to go to Mexico instead!

  • Reply christian Ray July 3, 2019 at 7:29 am

    We need that commentator also to colonise.

  • Reply Chris montgomery July 5, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    Space x is science fiction.

  • Reply Matt Chan July 5, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    Let's get to the moon first okay!!

  • Reply anthony mackey July 5, 2019 at 8:52 pm

    what a lot of bollocks. .. science fiction pure….

  • Reply RadRich July 6, 2019 at 2:55 am

    Who needs food and water. You're going to MARS!!!

  • Reply Michael Horner July 6, 2019 at 3:53 am

    Mars should have all the candy in the world for one to survive!

  • Reply GSpotter63 July 6, 2019 at 6:00 am

    The question is not "Can we get to Mars" I thank that is quite doable. The question to ask is "Why would we want to go?" What is the incentive to go? What can we do on Mars that we can not already do here far easier and cheaper right now?

  • Reply larky368 July 7, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Probably for the first time in his life Bill Nye was right. Nobody goes to Antarctica to raise a family. And it's a million times easier and more hospitable than getting to and living on Mars. Musk says that radiation is no big deal? He could be right. After all it made Bruce Banner the Hulk and he's famous so if you want big muscles and green skin then let's go to Mars!

  • Reply F V July 7, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    I do want to be a part of a Colony on Mars, take me as a volunteer!

  • Reply Scott Mitchell July 7, 2019 at 10:40 pm

    How will the survive? Notice no one can live without food/water.

  • Reply psycronizer July 8, 2019 at 7:46 am

    hmm..sounds like the bimboleena doing the speech trying to educate us isn't too clued up herself..2:10…to make the methane you need BOTH co2 AND the water you silly air head, unless you think water has carbon in it…maybe you do…

  • Reply Night Reader July 8, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Elon musk is not a scientist…You are like a animals on the wall while the CEO walk near the wall you are seating…

  • Reply dpq135st July 10, 2019 at 7:20 am

    Hahaha we cant leave earth so stop dreaming.
    Traveling in space.. stop talking about rockets!!!
    Flinstone tech won't cut it!!!

  • Reply Lee Deville July 10, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    Bill Nye the not so science guy.

  • Reply STORMSTOOKER July 10, 2019 at 10:09 pm


  • Reply Niels Deckmyn July 12, 2019 at 9:58 am

    How we will get there: SpaceX' work
    How we will live there: Nasa's work

  • Reply Niels Deckmyn July 12, 2019 at 10:00 am

    We have to colonize mars or some other planet in order to keep humanity alivia.. it's in our genetics. We went to the moon and what about history a colony grew to a city and the city grew to a country -> this has to happen on mars!

    We all know the end of the world is set to happen so having a 'back-up' planet isn't a bad idea…

  • Reply Mike Stein July 12, 2019 at 11:41 am

    Mars doesn't seem as far away as it did in the 80"s

  • Reply Mike Stein July 12, 2019 at 11:47 am

    We can now get to Mars faster than Lewis and Clark got to California

  • Reply jacob green July 12, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    if we kept the ship that made the journey to the moon we would've been there

  • Reply Joze Butinar July 13, 2019 at 4:36 am

    He is already finish the hoper and he is already building the bfr

  • Reply Vu Nguyen July 16, 2019 at 2:33 am

    I believe it when I see it. Elon may turn out to be a great explorer or a massive fraud. For now, I give him the benefit of the doubt.

  • Reply Cosette DeMille July 16, 2019 at 6:22 pm

    bill nye is a fvcking actor

  • Reply Harnit singh July 17, 2019 at 6:17 am

    Beautiful Barbie.

  • Reply Entity 100011 July 17, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    let's watch this again in 2024

  • Reply uwu July 18, 2019 at 3:07 am

    Yall are really underestimating Elon

  • Reply Suraj Pandit July 18, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    No u r wrong about engines

  • Reply Suraj Pandit July 18, 2019 at 7:44 pm

    I know he is lying but he is the one i m not sure but still i m

  • Reply Wentworth Walker July 19, 2019 at 6:26 am

    People said the moon landing wasn't possible as well and here we are…

  • Reply Melanie Rosser July 19, 2019 at 10:51 pm

    Terraforming would have to be done

  • Reply Md Rahman July 20, 2019 at 5:20 pm

    What about its magnetic field , we will we facing solar winds.

  • Reply karl Albrecht July 22, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    like selling sand to Arabs….Elon must grow a pair and be on the first flight to Mars…he is a scammer and a fraud

  • Reply Jacob Hood July 23, 2019 at 1:51 am


  • Reply Marc Bülow July 23, 2019 at 7:36 am

    You have knot boughtyet theeee maRS OF ANY WAY EL VIE LEAS ISTRAI .!.

  • Reply Marc Bülow July 23, 2019 at 7:43 am

    Carbo~DI~Oxyde !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,

  • Reply Marc Bülow July 23, 2019 at 8:01 am


  • Reply 『ƮǾxƚċ ƊɀƚⱤE』 July 23, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    "Strong engineering talent " who has this?

  • Reply ItalianPasta July 23, 2019 at 11:19 pm

    Does spaceX call their launch vehicles "reusable supersonic prograde propulsion modules" now or something? Whoever wrote that scrips needs to chill with the "supersonic retropropulsion" bullsh and just call it flying backwards with your engines on.

  • Reply Ryan Nil July 24, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    There is nothing in the Mars for human habitant, how human can live over there.

  • Reply Venus the second planet from the sun July 26, 2019 at 9:55 am

    Heyyyyy what about me

  • Reply hola July 27, 2019 at 6:43 am

    Is there WiFi
    That should be our prime focus

  • Reply Pallab Patra July 27, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    Name of the anchor please?

  • Reply PABLO ESCOBAR July 28, 2019 at 9:50 am

    i will be the first president of MARS

  • Reply sly fly July 28, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    We need to create a very large neutron bomb. In the Tera tons . So the neutron radiation can pentrate the planets crust and melt all the ice.

  • Reply Ali BabaTV July 29, 2019 at 2:20 am

    People can't grow crops in Siberia how are they going to do in Mars?

  • Reply Brian Arbenz July 30, 2019 at 3:47 am

    Musk's lullaby to get millions to go to Mars sounds like a plan "to serve man." Check out a Twilight Zone episode about rushing zealously into a spaceship for a trip to another planet to see the hazardous double meaning of that.

  • Reply AR21 July 31, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    I'm here to watch the dimples of Loren only.

  • Reply jaiho babaji August 1, 2019 at 7:23 pm

    I opened video just to see you and going on Mars it's not even close and I don't see possibility to land human flights there from current senerio least 30 years from now babes lets have bet on it 😘

  • Reply S Shiva August 2, 2019 at 6:32 am

    Finding MH370 ? Those govts who lost lives should hire this guy seriously. Hes planning for mars so he can do wonders in earth a part from business.

  • Reply Thomas Lee August 3, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    What can you do for a living on Mars? Well, since the Mars Gravity Well is one-third that of Earth, you could actually do quite a business harvesting gold, silver and other minerals from asteroids in space and not pay huge penalties in fuel used.

  • Reply Eric Mendez August 3, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    Ill go to mars sacrifices must be made

  • Reply wheelmanstan August 7, 2019 at 1:23 am

    bad idea, saw total recall

  • Reply Gabriel Molina August 7, 2019 at 4:39 am

    If Musk says he is gonna do it and it is gonna work I believe him. That guy is a genius.

  • Reply Sweetbrownsuger August 8, 2019 at 1:46 am

    The space ship runs on methane that’s pretty cool

  • Reply ryan lee August 9, 2019 at 4:54 am

    First get fusion power working. Second industrialize the moon and process ores and other materials. Third use the moon as a main space hub and shipyard and sling shot ships and materials into the moons orbit in order to assemble a orbiting space port the size of a small city. Now your ready to go to Mars!

  • Reply Ajay Ausarmal August 11, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    Nothing is impossible

  • Reply Roy Cornwall August 11, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    Question !  Who will fund resupplying missions to mar's using rockets to leave earth. FOR EVER ! no one will .If we use the RMLS.  we can .  It sends a projectile the size of a bus down a tube or track . pulling a Blue Orgin made supply rocket. This plane / rocket will be pulled down a 10 mile long track at a 1 G pull to a speed of mach 2 . It releases from the bullet and fly'y in outer space.The ship will return to send again the next day.We should be able to send every 30 minites.

  • Reply Captain Anarchy August 12, 2019 at 5:31 am

    People like Bill Nye saying it cant be done should get out of Elon's way while he does it.

  • Reply Payback Vendetta August 12, 2019 at 8:37 am

    Sign me up ! Available immediately !

  • Reply Rick Rutledge August 12, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    Pretty much all the problems we have here on Earth are made by us, so why do we think that going elsewhere will solve anything?

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