Elon Musk Internet Plan for Mars

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Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors recently announced he was opening a satellite office of SpaceX in Seattle, specifically targeted at producing satellites. The idea the real life Tony Stark has is a brilliant one. Musk’s plan is to use the satellites to provide low cost internet, worldwide, to fund the expensive trip to Mars.

Musk has the idea to launch 4,000 satellites to provide high-speed internet anywhere on Earth at an affordable price to raise the money that would be needed to visit the Red Planet. This would open areas of the world without internet to the online world.

In an interview with The Seattle Times, Musk stated that he will visit Mars one day. In order to do that, the CEO of SpaceX is prepared to spend billions of dollars to set up the satellite internet and use those funds not only to visit the Red Planet, but also build a city on Mars.

According to NBC News, Musk is getting some financial backing from Google, in the form of nearly $1 billion dollars. However, Musk is not the only one looking at providing internet from space. Richard Branson of Virgin Group is jumping in with Qualcomm on another venture to provide space internet access.

The Hindu Business Line reports that Musk believes his space internet can match fiber optic internet connections, and potentially faster than the fiber optic offerings. According to the Tesla CEO, the space based internet will be able to provide connections where it is near impossible to reach with cable options.

It has been a busy start of 2015 for the founder of Tesla. On New Years Day he announced a charger for his Tesla cars that will come out of the wall and plug in to the car automatically. He has also begun moving forward on his HyperLoop transport project with plans for a test track in Texas. And on top of that, he donated $10 million dollars to ensure that artificially intelligent robots do not try to take over the planet. And Tesla’s first car was given a major upgrade. The Roadster went from a somewhat forgotten electric vehicle (EV) to the EV with the most range at nearly 400 miles between charges.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp, or SpaceX, is already a major player in orbit. SpaceX provides freight transport services to the International Space Station (ISS), and will soon be providing transport of NASA astronauts to the station. Musk is hopeful in the lessons he learns working with NASA and creating the satellite network to make his dreams of a planned trip and city on Mars a reality.

In the long run, internet from space may not be the only network Musk has in mind. He feels, once Mars has people visiting or living there, there will be a need for internet. There is going to be a need for a high-speed internet connection between Earth and the Red Planet. If Musk establishes an Earth based space internet, that could provide leverage to provide the same for Mars.

By Carl Auer

Photo by NASA/Bill Ingalls – Flickr License
NBC News
The Hindu Business Line
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