Elon Musk’s SpaceX aerospace technology company plans to surround Mars with a constellation of communication satellites like the Starlink series it has orbiting Earth, a requirement necessary to allow the colony it intends to transport to the red planet communicate.
SpaceX Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell revealed SpaceX’s plans to Time magazine Thursday.
“Once we take people to Mars, they’re going to need a capability to communicate,” she said. “In fact I think it will be even more critical to have a constellation like Starlink around Mars.”
Starlink is SpaceX’s 5-year-old project to place thousands of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to enable internet access globally. The company already has placed more than 800 of the satellites in space with the successful launch of the most recent 60 on Monday.
“And then of course you need to connect the two planets as well, so we make sure we have robust telecom between Mars and back on Earth,” Shotwell said.
Musk, owner of the Tesla car company, has boasted of plans to build a fleet of Starship rockets in his bid to place 1 million people on Mars by 2050.
Space X, which in August completed the first launch of U.S. astronauts from U.S. soil and return to earth since the end of the Space Shuttle program, recently completed another successful test of its latest Starship prototype, the SN5.
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