Spartan

SpaceX Interplanetary Transport System

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Before something like this can be achieved there are numerous challenges that need to be overcome. Something of this scale to be done in a swift and efficient manner should be a multi-national project. This cannot be done by a single corporation.

Space-X shows a lot of promise with their ability to recover booster stages safely and efficiently and with their Dragon crew capsule being able to hold 7 individuals. They may be able to draw up designs for an interplanetary transport system, but can they actually build it?

The US (NASA) is pretty much hopeless right now with congress constantly suffocating them with budget cuts and the current presidential election having the population worried. However, there is hope that congress will see the US is falling behind technologically and NASA is the best hope to catch up.

The EU (ESA) could provide a valuable asset to a Mars expedition, with them constantly creating probes and satellites, and landing a probe on a comet.

Russia (Roscosmos) could help somewhat, saying that we usually piggy-back off of their rockets in order to get to the International Space Station. However, relations with them are a bit shaky and their economical situation is questionable.

Ukraine (SSAU) is entirely dependent on Russia, but with the help of other nations, they may be somewhat useful.

India (ISRO) has a space exploration program where they achieved putting a satellite into orbit around Mars. However, their budget is questionable.

Japan (JAXA) has the available technology in their program and has "manned missions to Mars and long-term settlement on the Moon as objectives."

China (CNSA) has sights set on Mars, but it's unlikely they would participate in such a project with the US or Japan.

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I don't know. I think this is just one of those cool ideas, which come up all of the time but never reach any state where they can be carried out. And just being able to land a booster on a barge is nothing compared to this kind of thing. Especially because of recent events, I think they should first try and build a reliable rocket, that doesn't randomly explode during fueling, before they try more advanced stuff.

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As far as I'm aware NASA has long-term plans until 2035 or so for a small Mars colony, probably for research purposes. Surely current events and the already dwindling funding they receive will only hinder those plans but the involvement of private companies may offset that.

The European Space Agency isn't much these days, we only chuck satellites out there and some limited scientific research with no actual space travel capable designs. 

Roscosmos isn't much far off, they've been chucking stuff up to low orbit where the ISS is, but aside from that their space program is even worse off than the US's.

An actual expedition to / colony on Mars would definitely require the involvement of more parties than just SpaceX. A mix of both private investors, companies and government funded organisations like NASA, the ESA or Roscosmos could be sufficient. Even then, there are still a lot of hurdles that would hinder a project like that. Things like: travel time, due to the rather poor and inefficient propulsion systems we have at our disposal, wear and tear on this "booster" module that is supposed to be bringing things into orbit, the amount of materials and energy required for an actual terraforming operation on a planet like Mars, the fact that Mars itself barely has a magnetic field to protect from solar wind, etc... 

Don't get me wrong I love seeing things like these. This is a well thought out concept and the SpaceX boosters are amazing when they work properly, but there are a lot of things and technologies required for something of that scope and a good bit of those technologies need to be advanced further in order for it to come to fruition. Should it happen? Definitely. Will it? Probably not in the next decade.

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