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Elon Musk wants to pay for Mars travel with high-speed Internet

That's a lot of Internet.


Alex La Ferla


Posted on Jan 19, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 5:53 pm CDT

By now we all know that Elon Musk has a very serious hankering to visit Mars. Half of his tweets are about traveling to the Red Planet and he has previously stated that his company, SpaceX, plans to launch trips to Mars for private customers in the next 10 to 12 years.

On Friday, Musk shared a new vision for turning his Mars dreams into reality with a crowd gathered in Seattle for a private event. The tech billionaire’s scheme for financing eventual trips to Mars centers around a network of 4,000 geosynchronous satellites that he claims will be capable of providing high-speed internet access anywhere on earth. The SpaceX and Tesla CEO hopes the revenue generated by this audacious plan will be enough to finance the costly voyages to Mars.

According to the Seattle Times, Musk told the audience of 400 invited guests, “One day I will visit Mars.” He added that the proposed satellite venture is, “all for the purpose of generating revenue to pay for a city on Mars.”

Musk’s visit to Seattle comes after he recently discussed plans for a new SpaceX facility in the Seattle-area in an interview with Bloomberg. The legion of satellites will be designed by software and aerospace engineers at the new company offices in Redmond, Wash.

The project is clearly a high priority for Musk, whose company received no financial incentives from the city or state to invest in the region. Instead, Musk explained that his rationale for opening the Seattle office was to attract the best engineers he could. “We want to hire the smartest engineering talent in the world,” he said. Musk told Bloomberg he eventually plans to employ up to a thousand people in the area.

Of course, these grandiose plans will remain fantasies until SpaceX takes further steps to actualize them. However, let’s not forget that the company started from nothing in 2002, has already flown nearly 50 missions, and maintains lucrative contracts to resupply the International Space Station. Last week SpaceX almost landed a rocket on the deck of a giant autonomous floating landing pad in the middle of the ocean. So, Musk is clearly capable of delivering on at least some of his more outlandish proposals.

H/T Seattle Times | Photo via Heisenberg Media/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Jan 19, 2015, 4:27 pm CST