Elon Musk wants his space internet venture to fund a city on Mars

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WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF

  • Musk needs to raise $10 Billion to fund his ambitious 2026 Mars flights as well as a Martian City, the profits from this project will help fund his Mars project


 

Elon Musk doesn’t only plan to bring the whole world online using a fleet of low cost communication satellites, he also wants to use the same infrastructure to provide internet on Mars.

Months after confirming the new SpaceX project, Musk has finally said that he plans to send hundreds of satellites to orbit the planet 750 miles above the ground. That’s much farther than the ISS, which maintains an altitude of around 268 miles, but closer than the farthest medium-earth orbit communication satellites at 22,300 miles. Their closer proximity to users means speedier internet and less latency, a problem that dogs satellites in higher orbits, as signals have lesser distance to travel, so it is conceivable that the new system could rival providers who base their networks on fibre optic.

 

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He has also revealed that the space internet project will operate out of SpaceX’s new Seattle office, starting with 60 employees who will also be working on the Falcon rockets and Dragon capsules. Musk said it will take them more than five years cost them a whopping $10 billion to build the satellites for the project. But the amount isn’t an issue, as SpaceX sees it “as a long-term revenue source for SpaceX to be able to fund a city on Mars.”

Of course, that depends on whether the flourishing private space company manages to shuttle people to the red planet and build a colony.

Another company called OneWeb announced a similar project earlier this week, headed by Greg Wyler, who was reported to be in talks with SpaceX for a joint venture last year. In the end, Wyler and Musk had a “fundamental disagreement about the architecture” of the technology, and Wyler secured funding from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group instead.

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, CNBC, Discovery, RT, and Viacom, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.

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