Well, today’s the day people. If, like us, you long to see humanity spread far into the cosmos, then Tuesday, September 27, might live long in the memory. No pressure, Elon.
Today at 2.30pm EDT (7.30pm BST), Elon Musk is going to reveal how he plans to make humans a multi-planetary species in a talk at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The talk will be streamed live online, which we’ve embedded below, and is expected to last an hour. Broadly, we know the SpaceX CEO is going to be talking about a proposal to send humans to Mars and beyond. This might be a new spacecraft, and possibly a new rocket. You can probably expect a few technical drawings, too.
Musk first teased that he would be doing this talk at the start of this year, prompting a fair amount of speculation on what he’d be announcing. Most had been expecting something called the Mars Colonial Transporter (MCT), a hush-hush project Musk had in the works that could supposedly take a colony of 100 people to Mars.
Then, the other day, he threw a spanner in the works when he said the MCT could go “well beyond” Mars, and instead dubbed it the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS). Now, understandably, excitement around Musk’s talk has reached fever pitch. We've previously provided some speculation on where he might want to go.
The stream for Musk's talk, which will start at 2.30pm EDT (7.30pm BST)
“The technical presentation will focus on potential architectures for sustaining humans on the Red Planet that industry, government, and the scientific community can collaborate on in the years ahead,” says the blurb for his talk.
That latter part indicates this isn’t something Musk is planning to do alone; he’s going to want cooperation from institutes and government agencies, such as NASA.
It’s unlikely he’s going to reveal he’s got something ready and waiting to launch. Instead, it’ll probably be more along the lines of the Hyperloop reveal in 2013 – where Musk laid out the theory behind the proposal, with a view to it being developed in the not too distant future.
But while with Hyperloop Musk initially said he’d take a backseat in its development (before later deciding to get more directly involved), he has been a very vocal proponent of Mars colonization. He’s previously said he wants to “die on Mars, just not on impact.”
So, you can probably expect Musk to announce something that we’re going to be hearing a lot more about over the coming years, as he fleshes out the idea. Will it be just a pipe dream, though, or something that's actually achievable?
It goes without saying, but this is probably going to be a talk you won’t want to miss.