In a much-anticipated talk at a space conference in Mexico on Tuesday, SpaceX founder Elon Musk revealed his grand ambition to build a city on Mars of as many as a million people and as soon as the 2060s. The plan centers on a huge new SpaceX rocket (shown here in a slide from Musk's presentation) even more powerful than the huge Saturn V rockets used for the Apollo missions of the 1960s and '70s.
Musk on stage at the International Astronautical Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico. The SpaceX CEO laid out an audacious plan over the course of a few hours detailing a timeline that begins with initial flights to Mars within a decade working toward a goal of a self-sustaining Martian metropolis.
This slide from Musk's Mars show details the SpaceX space ship that would transport passengers between Mars and Earth and perhaps even deeper into the solar system. It is designed to eventually carry 100 passengers, although at one point Musk mentioned he hoped to have ships with twice that capacity.
A break down of the specs on the Mars rocket booster that will do most of the heavy lifting for Mars missions to get payloads out of Earth's gravity well. Afterward, it separates and returns to Earth to be re-used, just like what SpaceX has started to demonstrate with its Falcon 9 rockets.
Throughout the presentation, the depiction of Mars behind Musk would change, sometimes appearing as the dry, desolate Mars we know, and other times appearing transformed into a more Earth-like world with clouds and patches of green.
As if building a metropolis on Mars weren't ambitious enough, Musk ended by noting that SpaceX's space ships could be ideal for exploring the rest of the solar system of refueling stations were setup on places like Saturn's moon Enceladus.