Billionaire whiz kid Elon Musk, who last year announced his plan to send a group of astronauts either incredibly brave or incredibly eager to get off this dumb planet to colonize Mars, is poised to give a big update on those plans on Friday.
Musk will be announcing a new “Big Fucking Rocket” planetary colonizer design at the 68th International Aeronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia. His speech will air at 2pm Adelaide time, which is 12:30am Friday morning ET.
Per Space.com, Musk’s speech will be preceded by a Lockheed Martin update on their Mars Base Camp concept, which involves a six-person space station the company says could be orbiting our stellar neighbor by the year 2028. Such a facility could be used for scientific research, as well as function as a orbital base for future exploration of the planet by rovers or expedition teams. That presentation aired hours before Musk’s speech and is viewable on Australia’s Science Channel here.
As the Verge noted, Musk’s original Interplanetary Transport System plan called for a 100-occupant, 40-foot (12-meter) diameter rocket with 42 engines that would need to be refueled in space after launch. Musk has floated the first unmanned ITS launch date at 2022, with manned ITS flights perhaps two years later, though those plans are ambitious and tentative at best.
It’s likely Musk’s announcement will concern either scaling back those ambitions slightly or successes in reducing the size of various components in the spacecraft, as he’s teased a launch vehicle just 30 feet (9 meters) in diameter. Ever the showman, he may also have something groundbreaking up his sleeve.
You can watch a live stream of Musk’s announcement below, courtesy of Musk’s SpaceX.