Elon Musk has made no secret of his ambition to establish a colony on Mars. His private space company, SpaceX, has been working on technology to make that happen. However, the costs associated with the entire endeavor are quite high, but Musk is hopeful that they can be reduced. He is actually aiming to make a trip to Mars cheaper than going to college.

Musk has penned an article that has been published by space technology journal New Space. It’s a 16 page paper that’s available online for free via New Space until next month. Musk has said that changes to the plan highlighted in the article are due as well.

Musk estimates that getting 12 people to Mars to start a colony currently stands at $10 billion per person but he’s hopeful that it can be brought down.

“If we can get the cost of moving to Mars to be roughly equivalent to a median house price in the United States, which is around $200,000, then I think the probability of establishing a self-sustaining civilization is very high,” he writes.

Musk isn’t ruling out this possibility that the cost can be brought down further to under $100,000 which would be cheaper than getting a degree from a private university in the United States.

Musk’s ideas for bringing the costs down include enabling the colony built on Mars to produce propellant for the ships which would ideally be able to fly to Mars and back at least more than once. They would also have the capability of refilling fuel in the orbit.

How soon can all of this happen? “If things go super-well, it might be in the 10-year timeframe, but I do not want to say that is when it will occur,” Musk suggests.

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