After traveling to the Moon, the next huge achievement for the human race is a manned mission to Mars. During recent years Elon Musk and his SpaceX company talked about a potential Mars mission more than once. And now it seems that Donald Trump shares Musk’s interest in sending humans to the planet.
According to the Washington Post, Trump met with Elon Musk more than once, with them talking about future Mars missions. The talks were about a potential public-private partnership between SpaceX and NASA, ultimately leading to a space mission to the red planet. Post reported that “He [Elon Musk] met at least once with Trump and, we’re reliably told, discussed Mars and public-private partnerships.”
Musk already mentioned his fascination with Mars. He wants to explore the planet, even to found a colony. Musk stated that the first mission could launch as early as 2024, less than a decade from now. Regarding a potential colony, it could be founded in the next 40 to 100 years.
Musk stated that “What I really want to do here is to make Mars seem possible – make it seem as though it’s something that we could do in our lifetimes, and that you can go.”
Trump’s administration already has plans for a mission to the lunar surface, a stepping stone toward Mars. Trump talked with Douglas Brinkley, a historian, about the past Moon missions, during which he showed interest in the potential mission. But, for now, Trump doesn’t want to discuss Mars mission publicly, since it could stir up the media, especially regarding the mission’s budget.
Douglas stated that “He might say something vague and morale-building about the moonshot in his inaugural, but if he got into something specific, that would seem to me a late-spring kind of thing.” In other words, Trump won’t discuss space missions for at least until spring 2017. Seeing how much controversy surrounds almost every Trump’s statement, a decision to wait a couple of months before stating his plans for future space missions is understandable.