On October 8, 2015, NASA published its strategy for human exploration and colonisation of Mars. The concept operates through three distinct phases leading up to fully sustained civilisation on the Red Planet, which they hope to implement sometime in the mid-2030s. However, the same year, SpaceX publicly announced a comprehensive vision to rival NASA and begin the colonisation of Mars sooner, by proposing to develop high-capacity transportation infrastructure.
The company CEO Elon Musk unveiled two phases for the first missions to Mars via his new Starship rocket.
He stated that in 2022, at least two Starship cargo vehicles will land on Mars, then two years later two crew vehicles will take the first people to the Red Planet.
However, archived footage from Larry King’s Now show reveals Dr Tyson does not think it will make it to Mars, and if it does, he fears the worst.
He said in 2015: “I’m sceptical on a couple of levels.
“We need people thinking that way, he wants to put people on Mars, we need those people in society, otherwise the rest of us think every day should be like the previous.
“But I can tell you that the first people to do really expensive things where they are dangerous and people could die, those are not business people, those are governments.
“The first Europeans to the New World were not the Dutch East India Trading Company, it was Columbus, funded by Spain.
“Then he draws the maps, here’s the trade winds, here’s where the hostiles are and the friendlies, here’s where you find the fruit that you can eat.”
Dr Tyson went on to claim the proposition to investors would be no more than a five-minute meeting.
He added: “Then you can make a business case for it, otherwise it’s a really short meeting.
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In November 2015, Administrator Bolden of NASA reaffirmed the goal of sending humans to Mars.
He laid out 2030 as the date of a crewed surface landing and noted that planned 2020 Mars rover would support the human mission.
However, in March 2019, Vice President Mike Pence declared “American Astronauts will walk on the Moon again before the end of 2024, by any means necessary”.
This reportedly pushed back the space agency’s Mars aspirations, opening the path up to SpaceX once again.
SpaceX still plans to land the first humans on Mars in 2024 and Musk indicated in September 2016 that the full build-out of the Mars colonisation plans would likely be funded by both private and public funds.
Elon Musk stated there is no expectation of receiving NASA contracts for any of the Mars architecture system work, but affirmed that such contracts would be good.