With 2018 getting closer, so is SpaceX‘s Red Dragon mission. This is the mission that is aiming to send one of its Dragon capsules up to Mars (unmanned) to see if they can land the heavy payload on the thin atmosphere that the planet has to offer. Because of its atmospheric pressure, it provides hardly any resistance to slow down any approaching spacecraft. But, if Elon and team can pull it off, records will be set, as it will the largest object ever to land on the moon.
However, this mission doesn’t come cheap, and the expected cost is estimated to be around $320 million, $32 million of which has been invested by NASA. For NASA the investment is in exchange for information that the Dragon capsule will capture during its mission to Mars, and they have also agreed to provide advice and technical support to the SpaceX team as well.
The Red Dragon mission wants to be able to ensure they can successfully land on the planet before any colonization begins to take place up there. Being around 8 to 10 times heavier than any other object that has landed on the moon, the Red Dragon certainly has its work cut out. However, by using propulsion to land rather than parachutes, the experts are confident the thrusters will slow the craft down enough to land safely.
But, with the launch date looming closer, the SpaceX team still have a lot of work that needs finishing. They are still to launch the Falcon Heavy, which is the lift rocket that is expected to have enough thrust power to get the capsule to Mars. Although its first flight is due to be sometime later this year, it has been delayed many times before. But, the focus of Elon Musk is still very much in the missions to Mars and more of his colonization plans are due to reveal in September this year.
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