Elon Musk teases 'Moon Base Alpha' ahead of big space announcement

It felt like the 46-year-old billionaire's late Steve Jobs "one more thing" moment.

That's only five years away. If we can do that, then all the resources.can be applied to this system.

At least two cargo ships would land on the Red Planet in 2022, with the key mission of finding the best source of water - now mooted as a way to power rockets, he said.

The rocket then relies on propulsion technology to guide it in for a safe landing.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has added moon missions to his grand plan for Mars, in a bid to capitalize on what's expected to be the Trump administration's shift in space policy.

Musk's emphasis, though, remains on Mars, as he showed a video of how a base, and later a city, could be built up there through flights of the BFR. "Over time we want to terraform Mars and make it a nice place to be", he said.

The ultimate goal of the BFR would be to help colonize Mars.

Musk later posted to Instagram an animation of the point-to-point application of the BFR.

The first two crewed ships would land in 2024 along with additional equipment and supplies to set up a propellant plant and build a base that would eventually be expanded.

The spaceship's journey to Mars would be similar to the ITS's mars mission profile.

"The future is vastly more exciting and interesting if we're a spacefaring civilization and a multi-planet species than if we're not", he said Friday.

Away from Earth, Musk believes the BFR will be used to ferry people to Mars.

Once fully operational, the Mars rocket system would also be able to support low-Earth orbit missions. Toward the end of Musk's highly technical presentation, animation played on a big screen behind him, showing scores of people getting on a high-speed ferry in NY, then boarding the BFR on a platform in the water. It could even service the International Space Station. The rocket then takes off, goes into orbit and lands down in Shanghai in less than an hour.

He says he is refocusing his SpaceX company to work on just one type of vehicle that could do all of the firm's current work and interplanetary travel.

Passengers could fly to most countries on Earth within 30 minutes, and anywhere on the planet definitively within an hour.

  • Leroy Wright