Elon Musk Reveals More Details About His Plan to Colonize Mars

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed a trove of new details on the company’s plan to colonize Mars.

He discussed technical details about the giant rocket that he says will take passengers to the Red Planet, the road map for getting to its first launch, and insights into SpaceX’s broader strategy in an “Ask Me Anything” forum on Reddit Saturday.

Musk was his typical freewheeling self during the AMA, quoting the cartoon Bob the Builder and responding to a question about spaceship design with the highly technical insight that “tails are lame.”

He also gamely responded to questions about tangential details of settling Mars, including speculation that settlers might use a compressed version of the Internet. Musk observed that data would take between 3 and 22 minutes to travel between Earth and Mars. “So you could Snapchat, I suppose. If that’s a thing in the future,” he wrote.

More substantively, Musk clarified the scope of SpaceX’s ambitions on Mars. Though he has shared images of vast Martian cities in his presentations on Mars colonization, he said SpaceX isn’t focused on building those cities itself.

“Our goal is get you there and ensure the basic infrastructure for propellant production and survival is in place. A rough analogy is that we are trying to build the equivalent of the transcontinental railway. A vast amount of industry will need to be built on Mars by many other companies and millions of people.”

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That means SpaceX will be designing and building things like systems for creating fuel from Martian resources, work that Musk said is “pretty far along.” But they won’t be focused on issues like how colonists grow food.

Musk also reiterated previous claims that SpaceX is designing the new Mars rocketstill code-named BFR, which stands for exactly what you think it does – to be as safe and reliable as today’s commercial airliners. That will be crucial if plans to use the BFR for transportation around Earth come to fruition.

Musk also shared some details about the game plan for testing the BFR ahead of its first scheduled flight in 2022.

“[We] will be starting with a full-scale Ship doing short hops of a few hundred kilometers in altitude and lateral distance,” Musk wrote. “Those are fairly easy on the vehicle, as no heat shield is needed, we can have a large amount of reserve propellant and don’t need the high area ratio, deep space Raptor engines.

“[The] next step will be doing orbital velocity Ship flights, which will need all of the above.”

SpaceX’s progress on its Falcon 9 rocket in recent years – especially its unprecedented success in landing and reusing rockets – has fascinated observers and re-energized public dialogue about space.

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SK Hynix set to invest in Toshiba chip unit, details consortium's plans

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s SK Hynix Inc said on Wednesday its board had approved its participation in a Bain Capital-led consortium that plans to purchase Toshiba Corp’s memory chip unit for 2 trillion yen ($ 17.7 billion).

SK Hynix said in a statement it will invest 395 billion yen, part of which will be in convertible bonds that could allow it to take an equity stake of up to 15 percent in the future.

Toshiba’s board agreed last week to sell the unit, the world’s second biggest producer of NAND chips, to the Bain group. However, the signing has been delayed because consortium member Apple Inc demanded new terms on chip supply in return for funding, sources familiar with the matter have said.

A Toshiba spokesman said the firm was aiming for a signed deal as soon as possible.

One person with knowledge of the deal, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter, said that he did not expect the deal to be signed on Wednesday.

The Bain-led consortium will hold 49.9 percent of the voting rights in the chip unit, while Toshiba will hold 40.2 percent and Japan’s Hoya Corp, a medical technology firm that also makes parts for chip devices, will own 9.9 percent, the statement said.

Consortium members Apple, Dell Inc, Seagate Technology Plc and Kingston Technology, will invest in the form of non-convertible preferred shares, it said.

Pressure from the Japanese government, changing alliances among suitors and a slew of revised bids has drawn out the auction over nine months – heightening the risk that the deal may not close before the end of Japan’s financial year in March as regulatory reviews usually take at least six months.

If the deal does not close before then, Toshiba – hurt by liabilities at is now bankrupt nuclear unit Westinghouse – is likely to end a second consecutive year in negative net worth, putting pressure on the Tokyo Stock Exchange to strip it of its listing status.

The sale also faces legal challenges from Western Digital, Toshiba’s chip venture partner and rejected suitor, which is seeking an injunction to block any deal that does not have its consent.

Western Digital, one of world’s leading makers of hard disk drives, paid some $ 16 billion last year to acquire SanDisk, Toshiba’s chip joint venture partner since 2000. It sees chips as a key pillar of growth and is desperate to keep the business out of the hands of rival chipmakers.

Toshiba has said the sale would improve its shareholders’ equity by 740 billion yen ($ 6.6 billion).

Reporting by Joyce Lee and Hyunjoo Jin; Additional reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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