Whichever timeline we choose, one thing is for certain: someday, soon, we’re going to become a multiplanetary species.
As for the spaceship, of which has already been given the name “Heart of Gold” (paying homage to Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”), this ship is incredibly large as well. The ship will be measuring at around 50 meters long and 19 meters wide – just big enough to carry 100 people per flight to Mars by 2024, including their luggage and various other extracurricular activities to make the journey fun and comfortable. If you’d like to watch Elon Musk’s entire hour+ long speech about this mission, click here.
Orbital’s plan, however, is to launch a modified Cygnus module aboard NASA’s Space Launch System by 2021. From 2022-2025, Orbital will continue launching various modules, of which will be added onto a newly assembled space station orbiting the Moon. From there, they’ll use this as a base to begin Mars exploration missions, testing out their technology, sending robots to explore the Martian surface, with an unknown timeline of when they’d want humans to officially step foot on the planet.
From there, the company will begin experimentation for all of their equipment throughout the 2020s. By 2030, or early 2030s, Boeing wishes to send a manned-mission to Mars orbit. And by mid- to late-2030s, that’s when they wish to officially launch a landing party onto the Martian surface. That’s well over 10 years after SpaceX wishes to colonize Mars. And also the reason why our money is on SpaceX.. Either way, there’s no doubt about it, we’re officially going to Mars!