The 21st Century Space Race: Boeing Wants To Travel To Mars Before SpaceX Does

First Posted: Oct 07, 2016 02:48 AM EDT

When it comes to the next big thing in space expedition, it is of course the Solar System that all of us think about, but it is almost certain that all eyes are now glued to just one target, manned missions to Mars. SpaceX, which is already planning to colonize Mars by setting up a 1-million people colony, has another rival stepping up the plate to race up to the surface of Mars, and that's none other than Boeing.

Dennis Muilenburg, President and CEO of Boeing, has claimed at a tech summit in Chicago, on Tuesday, that his company has it all what it takes to compete with its rivals when it comes to carrying humans to Mars.

"I'm convinced the first person to step foot on Mars will arrive there riding a Boeing rocket," Muilenburg said, according to Bloomberg's report.

Boeing isn't inventing its own spacecraft to ship people to Mars, but it is extending a helping hand to NASA in building the Space Launch System(SLS), an enormous rocket that is being created with the aim of transporting humans to the surface of Mars in the 2030s. Boeing's CEO is positive about the fact this mission will be accomplished before any of the rivals', namely SpaceX.

Muilenburg also indicated Boeing's future hopes of commercial travelling to space to various destinations in the Solar System and hypersonic planes that could fly halfway across the Earth in few hours. He added that space tourism will be "blossoming over the next couple of decades into a viable commercial market."

Boeing is a century-old, well-established aerospace multinational company that is celebrated for its commercial passenger aircrafts.   It has a prominent history of working as a contractor along NASA. They created the first stage of Saturn V, the spacecraft that shipped astronauts to Moon.

Muilenburg's declaration came within a week of the unveiling of Elon Musk's SpaceX, an overly ambitious mission. Musk had proposed at the International Astronautical Congress in Mexico that SpaceX plans to ship 100 people at once to Mars on the SpaceX-built Interplanetary Transport System (ITS), which will be the biggest rocket ever flown and also reiterated the fact that he wishes to launch the project in the next ten years, any point after 2024.

The future certainly holds some exciting drama of corporate rivalries and politics hidden amidst the wider benefits that such missions will bring for humanity and science. 

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