The Space Review

 
Red Dragon illustration
SpaceX has plans to use its Dragon spacecraft as a Martian lander; can Elon Musk turn this into a Mars settlement plan in a decade? (credit: SpaceX)

Can Elon Musk retire on Mars in 2023?


Bookmark and Share

Elon Musk was born on June 28, 1971. He’s planning to retire on Mars. He appears to have amassed a good deal of capital. He joined the Forbes 400 in 2012 with an estimated net worth of $2.4 billion. He has a rocket company with a NASA contract and plenty of satellite launch contracts, including eight flights for Iridium on its launch manifest.

There’s a proposed SpaceX Mars mission called “Red Dragon”. Elon Musk can fund a half dozen of these missions, at an estimated price of $400 million, with his current fortune at retail prices. Six times 1,000 kilograms of payload to Mars seems like a very tight mass budget to handle a retirement. Fortunately, the mass budget may rise as prices drop.

Even 240 flights to Mars is probably not enough to create a comfortable retirement destination. Not unreasonably, Musk has a plan to make settling Mars a profitable business.

SpaceX has demonstrated its Grasshopper vehicle, which has proven SpaceX’s mastery of vertical landing. And there are more hints of reusability, the Holy Grail that can get the cost of a rocket flight down from greater than $100 million to less than $10 million. At $100 per pound, a flight to orbit is competitive with a first-class flight to Australia. But where is there to go?

Even 240 flights to Mars is probably not enough to create a comfortable retirement destination. Not unreasonably, Musk has a plan to make settling Mars a profitable business so there will be a full retirement community for people to reminisce about how hard spaceflight used to be.

After turning the world of rockets upside down with SpaceX and doing better at lithium batteries at Tesla than Boeing or Airbus and all his previous successful ventures, I’d say he’s a favorite to retire on Mars. Elon Musk can join the AARP in just under 10 years.

I want to go too. I’ll pay the $500,000 ticket price. Where do I sign up?


Home

Subscribe

Enter your email address below to be notified when new articles are published: