Elon Musk announced recently that he plans to land his SpaceX on Mars by 2018 with the assistance of National Aeronautics and Space Administration. If this happens, it will be an exemplary collaboration between a private and a public institution which will finally bring man to the surface of the Red Planet.
The announcement was made by the space company on Twitter last Wednesday. An ambitious time line was laid out in the announcement for a hugely difficult mission that no other private company has dared to try.
This space endeavor of landing a spacecraft on Mars is so difficult it was tried by no other country but the United States. Several attempts over the years have turned to failure.
With Elon Musk's space transport company, the mission is doable. The company is actually chartered with a long-term objective of Mars colonization.
Musk intends to use the Red Dragon spacecraft for this mission. It measures around 20 feet tall and 12 feet wide. According to the space company, the spacecraft will land on the Red Planet to prove that it is able to reach far-flung destinations anywhere in our solar system,
The CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX also plans to reveal in September, during the 67th International Astronautical Congress, his plans to send humans to Mars. The conference will be held in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Musk's partnership with NASA is another example of the space agency's significant shift of focus in space exploration. Even as it continues its pursuit of deep space missions, it is open to giving assistance to private companies to boost the growth of the country's commercial space industry.
In this regard, NASA said in a press release that it is providing "technical support" for SpaceX's mission, without financial backing. The commercial space company will provide "valuable entry, descent and landing data to NASA for our journey to Mars, while providing support to American industry," said the space agency.