Boeing Claims It Will Reach Mars Before SpaceX, Elon Musk Says ‘Bring It On’

The modern space race has become more competitive in recent months, with major players such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origins, as well as government agencies like the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) or the European Space Agency making impressive strides in space technology.

Mars seems to be the next frontier to be conquered, with Musk recently announcing plans to colonize the red planet over the next decade by developing a gigantic space vehicle- dubbed ‘ the Interplanetary Transport System’. Now, a new challenge has been issued to SpaceX by Boeing CEO Denis Muilenberg, who claims that the aviation company will be the first one to put a human on Mars.

Boeing’s lofty ambitions

“I’m convinced the first person to step foot on Mars will arrive there riding a Boeing rocket,” said Muilenburg during a recent conference on innovation held in Chicago, sponsored by the Atlantic magazine.

During the event, Muilenberg laid out a futuristic vision under which a commercial space-travel market would be developed with dozens of destinations orbiting the Earth and hypersonic aircraft carrying travelers between continents in two hours and less. Boeing is currently working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to create a heavy-lift rocket for deep space exploration called the Space Launch System (SLS), and intends to be a key player in the race to conquer Mars.

Will Boeing’s lofty ambitions come to fruition though? That mainly depends when NASA plans to go to Mars, and as reports have suggested, space agency aims to send humans to Mars in the 2030s only. Compare this with Elon Musk’s plans for a manned mission to Mars- an unmanned Dragon 2 spaceship will land on Mars by 2018, followed by a manned mission departing in 2024, and landing in 2025.

Musk unfazed, welcomes competition

How NASA Plans To Get To Mars

Elon Musk has welcomed the challenge, stating that greater competition will benefit the entire world.

“I really don’t have any other motivation for personally accumulating assets, except to be able to make the biggest contribution I can to making life multi-planetary. I think it’s actually much better for the world if there are multiple companies or organizations building these interplanetary spacecraft. You know, the more the better,” said Musk.

Putting humans on Mars is by no means an audacious task and will require painstaking planning and identifying all possible obstacles that can deter the mission, such as cosmic radiation, high costs, massive energy required to harvest water on the planet, deep space communication and planetary protection.

A Boeing Settlement on Mars

There is no denying that Boeing has been in the space business way longer than SpaceX, and has built a solid reputation right from the Apollo missions to present day operations. Consider this- Boeing, in collaboration with Lockheed Martin holds the record for the maximum number of consecutive successful rocket launches without mishap: 111 missions and counting.

Compared to that, SpaceX has a lot of catching to do, since its last planned mission was a spectacular failure when the Falcon 9 rocket exploded without even a launch! Did Muilenberg make his declaration based on an estimate of the actual feasibility of the Mars operation? It will be extremely interesting to see how the space wars evolve, as manned missions are altogether a very different playing field.

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9 Responses

  1. Rod Martin Jr says:

    Love the competition. That’s one of the things that has helped make America great to begin with. Even America competing with Soviet Russia made the Russians better. Early on, the Russian robotic missions were mostly failures. Then in the 70s, they pulled out of their slump.

    NASA, on the other hand, got sloppy and too political. Even creating a web page on oxymoronic (politically self-contradictory) “scientific consensus,” and appeals to emotion — “Earth’s fever.”

    I remember one of the early astronauts commenting how “comforting” it was to know that he was riding on equipment produced by the lowest bidder. In those days, such sarcasm really meant something significant.

  2. Frost Bite says:

    Can everyone just stop with putting Blue Origins in the same category as SpaceX? Neither Blue Origins or Virgin Galactic are in the same league. BO and VG are working on thrill rides for the rich, Bezos has put out ideas for orbital and farther, but still hasn’t even gotten his suborbital past testing. Until he puts something into orbit, BO is just a Disney ride, and who knows when VG will fly again.

  3. Dalton Kincade says:

    And when is the last time Boeing or NASA even landed a rocket back on a platform in the ocean. Right. Opps.

  4. Harsh says:

    “Putting humans on Mars is by no means an audacious task”
    Did you mean to say “Putting humans on Mars is by no means NOT an audacious task”

  5. Glu says:

    It’s all good. SpaceX and ULN get demselves alk fired up for Mars, and competinn, an we all benefit. Yoyoyo! Props!

  6. Chris C says:

    It is a very foolish statement for Boeing to make. At this point in time, Boeing is around 30 years behind SpaceX and is still immersed in 1960’s technology that someone else developed. Boeing is still committed to craft-made rocketry which makes development rocky and quality control virtually impossible. Boeing is also dependent on rigged no-bid government contracts, huge intentional cost overruns, long production delays and failures to meet specs. In return Boeing and others hire scores of retired NASA and Pentagon procurement officers into cushy “executive” jobs. And Boeing has a long history of transferring the means of production and trade secrets to foreign countries, primarily China and Russia in return for a quick short-term buck and a dismal long-term future.

  7. SGray says:

    “Compared to that, SpaceX has a lot of catching to do,” Bullshit.
    SpaceX is so far ahead of Boeing in this regard it is not funny.
    SpaceX: Falcon Heavy ready to fly, capsule tested IN SPACE, LAS Tested, Hypersonic engine restart in Mars atmospheric density – TESTED, heatshield analyzed by NASA Langley – READY for direct entry to Mars.
    Of all that what has Boeing done? – Big rocket – Check

    • Amir says:

      That Boing rocket is a joke. I cant believe NASA accepted a plan that was a mix between the STS and some other crap. I mean they’re even going to use SRBs!

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