Three light-minutes to Mars

Will we get to Mars before 2025? And if we do, who will get there first?

Moon is roughly one light-second away from us; If you shine a flashlight towards the night sky, the photons will hit the surface of the Moon 384,000 km away in just over a second.

Mars, however, is much further away from Earth; it takes light about three minutes to bridge the 54 million kilometre gap between us.

Neil Armstrong was the first human to touch the surface of the Moon in 1969.

When can we expect the live stream from the first manned Mars landing and who will be taking the next giant leap for mankind?

Will humans make it to Mars before 2025

A man has walked on the moon and there’s no reason to think that as technology gets better, we wouldn’t walk on Mars too. But when will that happen?

The next decade? Will it take more than a hundred years? According to odds set by the online bookmaker Bodog, it won’t happen before 2025.

Will a human being set foot on Mars by 2025?

Yes - 3.50 | No - 1.25

Who will get to Mars first?

The Russians sent Sputnik 1 around the Earth in 1957 launching the Space Race between them and the Americans, which lead to the manned NASA missions to the Moon about a decade later.

See if you can spot what has changed in the decades since the original Space Race by looking at Bodog's odds for Who Will get to Mars first:

Who will get to Mars first?

SpaceX - 1.278 | Blue Origin - 5.15 | Boeing - 7.50 | Space Force - 13.00

Yes, you got it right - nowadays it’s individual companies (and with people like Elon Musk, individual people) rather than nation states who are making the biggest waves in interplanetary travel.

Blue's part in this journey is building a road to space

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Mars Attackers - Who are the players in the race?

Let’s take a closer look at people and companies trying to get to Mars.

Elon in space

SpaceX, Elon Musk

JFK famously said that we’re trying to get to Moon “not because it’s easy, but because it’s hard.”

Elon Musk might say that he is trying to get to Mars “not because it’s hard, but because it’s crazy.”

The entrepreneur has said that there’s a 70% change that he will visit Mars in his lifetime (he’ll turn 100 in 2071).

SpaceX launched the world’s biggest rocket (as well as Musk’s Tesla Roadster) into space in 2018, but most of the scheduled milestones like orbiting the Moon have been postponed.

It’s hard to say how much of Musk’s spiel is marketing and how much of it is based on reality, but he seems to really want to go. Probably the safest bet at the moment.

Blue Origin

Blue Origin is working on enabling private human access to Space. Founded in 2000 by the now richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin starts its Mission Statement like this:

“We are not in a race, and there will be many players in this human endeavor to go to space to benefit Earth. Blue's part in this journey is building a road to space with our reusable launch vehicles, so our children can build the future. We will go about this step by step because it is an illusion that skipping steps gets us there faster. Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.”

Who do you think they are talking to? And who are they kidding that this is not a race? If the-man-who’s-not-named in the mission statement gets there first - bye bye Blue Origin. If you don’t believe me, go talk to Betamax and HD DVD fans.

Boeing

Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg has said multiple times that “the first person to set foot on Mars will get there on a rocket that Boeing has a hand in building.”

If that’s the case, competitors have at least until 2030 to develop their systems, because NASA’s test flights to Mars won’t start before that.

Space Force

Space Force doesn’t really exist as such; it’s a proposed branch of the United States Armed Forces which would control military space operations.

Still, according to Bovada’s odds, this slip of the tongue is likelier to reach Mars before China and Russia - go figure!