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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Elon Musk’s outrageous new space goal: Will he really reach Uranus?

Known for his groundbreaking plans to colonize Mars, Musk now sets his sights even further—towards Uranus.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, has recently expanded his interstellar ambitions. Known for his groundbreaking plans to colonize Mars, Musk now sets his sights even further—towards Uranus, the seventh planet in our solar system. This bold declaration was made during a recent interaction on X (formerly Twitter), sparking widespread excitement and curiosity.

The Mars Plan 

In February 2024, Musk shared a detailed strategy to establish a human settlement on Mars, with the goal of transporting a million people to the Red Planet. Emphasizing the importance of self-sustainability, Musk stated, “Civilization only passes the single-planet Great Filter when Mars can survive even if Earth supply ships stop coming.” This ambitious plan involves launching “maybe three” ships on the first mission, followed by an exponential increase in subsequent missions.

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Aiming for Uranus

In a reaction to a video posted by the X account “DogeDesigner,” Musk expressed his dream of reaching Uranus. He stated, “We definitely want our rocket to reach Uranus. It’s a stretch goal to reach Uranus, but definitely something we should aim for.” Musk later reiterated this aspiration in a post, reinforcing his vision for space exploration beyond Mars.

Technological Challenges and Innovations

SpaceX’s Starship, a fully reusable megarocket, has undergone a series of live tests, breaking through Earth’s atmosphere. Despite encountering regulatory and technical hurdles, SpaceX continues to push the boundaries of space travel. The most recent test of Starship was conducted last week, with Musk announcing plans for a fifth launch pending FAA approval. Enhancements to Starship include a new, stronger heat shield, which is expected to be “about twice as strong” as the one used in previous tests.

Public Reactions and Future Prospects

Musk’s announcement has generated a mix of reactions. Some admire his visionary approach, with comments like “Wow! Go, Elon Musk! Go, SpaceX!” Others have taken a more humorous angle, referring to Musk as the “Chief Uranus Officer (CUO).”

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Exploring Uranus presents significant scientific and technical challenges. Discovered in 1781 by William Herschel, Uranus is known for its unique blue-green color due to methane in its atmosphere and its extreme axial tilt of 98 degrees. It has 27 known moons and a faint ring system, and was last visited by Voyager 2 in 1986.