SpaceX Starship: Elon Musk Shoots for Mars


Loren Elliott

The first prototype of the SpaceX Starship, built to carry 100 passengers into space. The exterior of the ship is made of stainless steel to protect the ship from external temperatures.

Nick Sanchez-Zarkos, Writer

Three years ago, Elon Musk told the world about his plan for a spaceship capable of sending 100 people to Mars. At the time, the idea seemed problematic, distant, and even unlikely. But after Texas saw Musk reveal the prototype of 200 tons containing more than 30 engines, a stainless steel exterior, and a launch date in 2021, our next step into space seems closer than ever.

The Starship’s primary objective would be to take its passengers directly to and from either the Moon or Mars. The prototype is set to launch its first launch of 20 kilometers in the coming months, while the company continues to build Starships in both Texas and Florida. 

Despite the attention Musk and SpaceX have received from their latest announcements, there are still doubts as to whether or not the company will actually be capable of launching the rocket- and if Mars will really be the destination. Many see Musk as a man with a vision but without a plan and doubt his ability to send us to Mars, considering no human  has made a journey to the Moon in over 45 years. 

The critical part of Musk’s plans for the “ship” is for the rocket to be able to travel into space and back to Earth multiple times, making it reusable. According to Musk, SpaceX has already begun to increase production for rocket engines, as they hope to begin tests before 2020. The engines will help launch the rocket’s heavy weight, as the Starship is made of Stainless steel, which was chosen to withstand space’s cold temperatures, and to be used as a shield against thermal temperatures.

In the past week, many changes have been made to the starship in hopes of creating a safer, more efficient rocket to meet their launch goals. The interior of the rocket will be made from a ceramic tile system that will allow the tiles to be easily reused or replaced to protect the passengers inside. Along with the interior changes,  SpaceX will also likely adjust the number of engines inside the vehicle, including alterations done to the “arms” of the rocket. These changes to the Starship, Musk explained to reporters, could allow the rocket to be able to make a trip from New York to Tokyo in 30 minutes, and could be classified as “an ICBM that lands.”

Following the showcase of Elon Musk’s most recent innovation- the  SpaceX Starship, the decades-long wait for human space exploration may finally be closing to an end. In upcoming months, the world will likely see the first tests of a Starship capable of sending humans to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.