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Hank is all about Mars, and Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, has some plans for colonizing the Red Planet that have got Hank very excited.

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All images courtesy of SpaceX
Hello, I'm Hank Green, welcome back to SciShow Breaking News. 

If you know me at all, you know that I'm all about Mars: sending stuff to it, studying it, and above all, going there-- like actual people going there-- and you also probably know that I'm generally a patient person but not when it comes to Mars. 

Yes, NASA and other space agencies say that they have "plans" to send people to Mars, in the same way that my dad has "plans" to clean out the garage: he totally intends to do it but he's not ever going to do it. My dad just doesn't have the time, or the will, or the energy to clean out the garage, but you know who does have all that stuff? Elon Musk. Not to clean out the garage, I mean, but to go to Mars.

The billionaire behind SpaceX who made all his money as the co-founder of, Musk's SpaceX corporation has already sent spacecraft into orbit and started ferrying cargo to and from the International Space Station, but for a long time, he's been talking about how to send people to Mars and not just for an exploratory mission, but for a permanent colony. And now, after months of kind of dreaming out loud at us, Musk has started to put together some things that look a lot like plans. 

At a meeting with the Royal Aeronautical Society in London two weeks ago, Musk revealed more details than ever about his ideals about how to get boots on the surface of Mars. For starters, he assigned a headcount to his colony; he estimates that about 1 in every 100,000 people on Earth is both willing and fit enough to move to Mars and could afford to buy a ticket. So in a world with about 8 billion people, that'd come to about 80,000 folks on the surface of Mars.

But rather than sending everyone there at once in a kind of Battlestar Galactica flotilla of humanity, he said that the first wave would probably feature fewer than 10 pioneers followed by waves of 100 or more. With each person paying 500,000 U.S. dollars for the journey of a lifetime, the mission would apparently pay for itself, though I don't really understand how that's possible with current technology. 

As for how people would live when they got there, Musk said that the vehicles themselves could serve as the primary habitats.

Now if you ask me, this is where things start getting interesting. In an interview before his address to the Society, Musk confirmed that SpaceX is working on a new engine, more powerful than anything it's built before-- a methane-propelled engine called the Raptor. He added, and I'm quoting here, "perhaps what's even more interesting is the spaceship that it's attached to". When asked if the spaceship was MCT, a project rumored to stand for Mars Colony Transport, he said coyly that he wanted to show a little leg, not all of it. Now I'm not really a leg man, but I wanna see the whole leg. 

Musk said he'd announce more details about the Raptor and its mysterious craft next year, but it's safe to say that we won't be seeing the 2020 Olympics on Mars or anything. I mean, SpaceX doesn't even plan on putting a person into orbit for at least 3 years, and Musk himself said that any time frame for a human mission to Mars is at least ten to fifteen years. But still, that's much better than what NASA's talking about.

And while we're on the topic of titillating, teasing, little-bit-of-leg news about Mars, principal investigators with the Mars Science Laboratory say that samples analyzed from the MSL have revealed something Earth-shaking, and then they didn't tell us what it was! But I'll have more on what this might mean on Friday, with SciShow News.

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