Elon Musk rejects claims that his satellites are hogging space
Plus, he provided an ETA on when we can visit Mars
Tech mogul and ultra-billionaire who could definitely lend you a fiver if you ever needed one - Elon Musk - has rejected claims that his Starlink satellite internet project is taking up too much room in space. You know, that massive, endless blank void above our heads?
The news comes after the head of the European Space Agency Josef Aschbacher suggested that Musk was "making the rules" when it came to the burgeoning space industry and potentially taking up too much room in and around the Earth's orbit.
To make matters worse, just last week China claimed that it had a very near miss with one of Musk's Starlink satellites.
Starlink is an ambitious satellite-based broadband project designed to help connect the world with high-speed internet. It's currently vying for space in Earth's orbit alongside other tech companies that also rely on satellites to conduct their work and connect users down on Earth.
However speaking to the Financial Times, Musk shot back at these reports, claiming that space is actually big enough for everyone.
"Space is just extremely enormous, and satellites are very tiny," he said, during a new interview - before adding that "tens of billions" of satellites can be accommodated in orbits close to Earth.
Musk continued, telling the outlet: "This is not some situation where we're effectively blocking others in any way. We've not blocked anyone from doing anything, nor do we expect to.
"A couple of thousand satellites is nothing. It's like, hey, here's a couple of thousand of cars on Earth, it's nothing."
Other experts have suggested that much larger spaces are required between satellites to reduce the risk of collision and earlier this month, Aschbacher warned that the onslaught of traffic in Earth's orbit caused by objects launched by Starlink could result in their being less room for competitors.
The ever-calm, definitely-not-robot-like Musk didn't seem too phased by these criticisms though. Instead, he doubled down on his determination to explore space, even going so far as to suggest a rough ETA on we can expect to go on holiday to Mars - and it turns out, we don't really have that long to wait.
Speaking to the Lex Friedman Podcast just yesterday (December 28), Musk revealed that "best case is about five years, worst case 10 years" when it comes to his first mission to the Red Planet - which he's calling Starship.
"Starship is the most complex and advanced rocket that’s ever been made. It’s a lot. It’s really next level," he told Friedman, detailing the complexities of the mission that make it extra challenging.
"The fundamental optimisation of Starship is minimising the cost per ton per orbit and ultimately cost per ton to the surface of Mars.
He continued, adding: "There is a certain cost per ton to the surface of Mars where we can afford to establish a self-sustaining city, and above that we cannot afford to do it.
"Right now you couldn’t fly to Mars for a trillion dollars. No amount of money could get you a ticket to Mars. So we need to get that above, you know, to get that something that is actually possible at all."
And in case you were wanting to get rid of any left-over Christmas spirit, Musk's festively-timed chat didn't hold back when it came to discussing why traveling off-world will soon be all-important thanks to Earth's increasing temperatures.
"Earth’s been around 4 1/2 billion years, and this is the first time in 4 1/2 billion years that it’s been possible to extend life beyond Earth.
"That window of opportunity may be open for a long time, and I hope it is, but it also may be open for a short time. I think it is wise for us to act quickly while the window is open, just in case."
Better get our space shades and intergalactic swimming trunks ready - sounds like we'll be on Mars in no time.
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