No one needs to tell the people at SpaceX that they’re pushing the limits of technology. But Alan Stern, for one, remains convinced that Musk is in it for the long haul. “He wants to make people a multi-planet species, and he’s not going to quit. He’ll change the model, or he’ll spend more of his own money—he’ll do something. He’s not in it to build the rockets; that’s a means to an end. It’s a religion for him.”
If Stern is right, when the astronauts aboard the International Space Station receive their six tons of supplies from a SpaceX vehicle launched by a SpaceX rocket next year, they just might be witnessing the first step in a journey to Mars.
Andrew Chaikin, author of Voices From the Moon (Studio, 2009), plans to cover the first commercial lunar landing — as a crew member.