World-class astrophysicist and science figurehead Neil deGrasse Tyson will not go to Mars aboard SpaceX’s spacecraft until the mother of the company’s founder, Elon Musk, tries the trip herself and return to Earth safely.
During Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” Sunday, a user that goes by the name patopc1999 asked Tyson if he would ever consider joining a one-way ticket to Mars.
“I really like Earth, so any space trip I take, I’m double checking that there’s sufficient funds for me to return,” Tyson responded. “Also, I’m not taking that trip until Elon Musk sends his mother and brings her back alive. Then I’m good for it.”
When asked about his thoughts on the success of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 relaunch and landing. Tyson answered “Any demonstration of rocket reusability is a good thing. When we fly on a Boeing 747 across great distances, we don’t throw it away and roll out a new one. Reusability is arguably the most fundamental feature of affordable expensive things.”
According to a report from USA Today, Musk is planning to send about 100 to 200 people at a time to Mars using reusable rockets. The plan is to send the very first human flight to the Red Planet within the decade.
The travel to Mars will not come cheap. The company estimates that the interested individuals need to pay about $100,000 to $200,000 per person if they want to join the trip. Musk envisions that they could make 10,000 of such trips over the next century.
At present, SpaceX’s reusable dragon capsules are being used to send supplies to the International Space Station. The company is considered to be the pioneer of rocket boosters that are capable of returning to Earth and landing upright, making it reusable.
By late next year, Musk plans to send two paying passengers in a private space mission that will travel around the moon using SpaceX rockets.