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Musk to outline Mars plans today

27 September 2016

Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corporation will outline Mars plans in his keynote speech, titled "Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species," that Elon Musk would give today at the 67th International Astronautical Congress ( IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The most anticipated news that Musk would likely address in his speech is the progress made by SpaceX on its Interplanetary Transport System (ITS), formerly called the Mars Colonial Transporter (MCT).

The ITS is a series of new spaceflight vehicles and architecture that would be required to launch humans and supplies to another planet.

It would include the Red Dragon capsule that SpaceX planned to launch to Mars in 2018 and a massive new Mars injection orbit spacecraft capable of transporting 100 tons of cargo. But perhaps the star highlight would be a new super heavy launch vehicle, which had no official name, but as widely referred to as the BFR for "big fucking rocket", a name coined by Musk himself.

The new Mars shuttle and BFR were only design ideas that had been proposed by SpaceX, so it remained to be seen whether a concrete plan to develop one or both of these new spaceflight system, or something completely unknown to the public at this point would be revealed during Musk's speech.

However, given the fact that SpaceX just test-fired its new Raptor engine - a methane-fuelled rocket booster having over three times the thrust capabilities of the Merlin engine powering the Falcon 9 -suggested an announcement about the BFR might be imminent.

Meanwhile, the IAC said in a statement, "Musk will discuss the long-term technical challenges that need to be solved to support the creation of a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars.

The technical presentation will focus on potential architectures for colonizing the Red Planet that industry, government and the scientific community can collaborate on in the years ahead."

But there are some issues that SpaceX would need to address like how to keep hydrogen tanks from exploding how to keep humans from starving on the trip or dying of radiation exposure on the planet.

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