SpaceX plans to send humans to Mars on a ship called the Interplanetary Transport System, and in a video published today, the company revealed how the ITS will actually perform. The ITS is capable of carrying up to 100 tons of cargo (that's supplies and people) and it will rely on a few different power sources to make it all the way to Mars.
Liftoff requires 28,730,000 pounds of thrust, which suggests the ITS will use roughly 40 Raptor rocket engines, which each generate 680,000 pounds of thrust. Once the ship reaches orbit, its booster will return to Earth and immediately re-launch with a refueling pod, which matches up with the ITS to top off its propellant. Then, the ITS deploys its solar arrays, two wing-like panels that fold out from the base of the ship and provide 200 kW of power, and it sets off.
12m rocket booster diameter, 17m spaceship diameter, 122 m stack height— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 27, 2016
Once humans on the ITS actually make it to Mars and successfully land, SpaceX teases that the planet will be terraformed, transitioning from classic red to lush greens and blues.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk will outline the company's plans to colonize Mars in a talk at 2:30 PM ET called "Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species."