Here's how Elon Musk's giant new rocket system might land people on Mars

Tech billionaire and SpaceX founder Elon Musk wants to colonize Mars with a million people in an effort to protect humanity from certain doom.

To that end, on Tuesday afternoon during a keynote talk at the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, Musk will unveil his ambitious plans to establish a human settlement on the red planet.
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But before the event, which is broadcasting live on YouTube, SpaceX revealed a new video of its new Interplanetary Transport System (ITS).

Based on that clip, here's how Musk's ambitious plan to launch dozens of people at a time to the red planet might work.

First, passengers load into a giant spaceship on top of the ITS.

First, passengers load into a giant spaceship on top of the ITS.

Musk has said on Twitter that the ITS is 12 meters (39 feet) wide and 122 meters (400 feet) tall.

Musk has said on Twitter that the ITS is 12 meters (39 feet) wide and 122 meters (400 feet) tall.

Source: Twitter

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The giant ITS will launch from a futuristic-looking version of NASA's Cape Canaveral, Florida, launchpad 39A — the same one used by Apollo 11 astronauts to get to the moon.

The giant ITS will launch from a futuristic-looking version of NASA's Cape Canaveral, Florida, launchpad 39A — the same one used by Apollo 11 astronauts to get to the moon.

At the bottom of the rocket are 42 separate rocket engines, presumably the Raptor design Musk unveiled on September 26.

At the bottom of the rocket are 42 separate rocket engines, presumably the Raptor design Musk unveiled on September 26.
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Those ignite with 28.7 million pounds of thrust — nearly four times greater than NASA's Saturn V rocket that took Apollo astronauts to the moon.

Those ignite with 28.7 million pounds of thrust — nearly four times greater than NASA's Saturn V rocket that took Apollo astronauts to the moon.

The enormous first-stage rocket booster detaches itself, deploying an unnamed spaceship to low-Earth orbit.

The enormous first-stage rocket booster detaches itself, deploying an unnamed spaceship to low-Earth orbit.
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Meanwhile, the booster heads back to Earth...

Meanwhile, the booster heads back to Earth...

Re-enters the Earth's atmosphere...

Re-enters the Earth's atmosphere...
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...And lands back at the launchpad — similar to SpaceX's recyclable Falcon 9 rocket boosters. This prevents the need to trash them in the ocean, allowing their reuse, plus saving money and time.

...And lands back at the launchpad — similar to SpaceX's recyclable Falcon 9 rocket boosters. This prevents the need to trash them in the ocean, allowing their reuse, plus saving money and time.

A propellant tanker is loaded on top of the booster and soon launches back into orbit.

A propellant tanker is loaded on top of the booster and soon launches back into orbit.
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Then, in orbit, the tanker refuels the spaceship.

Then, in orbit, the tanker refuels the spaceship.

The tanker heads back to Earth for a future launch...

The tanker heads back to Earth for a future launch...
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...While the spaceship continues on to Mars.

...While the spaceship continues on to Mars.

Once fueled up, the spaceship deploys fan-like blades of solar panels, which provide 200,000 watts of power.

Once fueled up, the spaceship deploys fan-like blades of solar panels, which provide 200,000 watts of power.
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The finned spaceship begins making its way to Mars at a clip of 62,600 mph, setting up a multi-month journey to the red planet.

The finned spaceship begins making its way to Mars at a clip of 62,600 mph, setting up a multi-month journey to the red planet.

Once the giant spaceship arrives, it begins its descent to Mars.

Once the giant spaceship arrives, it begins its descent to Mars.
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The spaceship partly slows down while plowing through the red planet's atmosphere, generating 3,000 degrees of heat.

The spaceship partly slows down while plowing through the red planet's atmosphere, generating 3,000 degrees of heat.

It then fires retro-rocket boosters...

It then fires retro-rocket boosters...
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...Makes a soft landing...

...Makes a soft landing...

...And lets its passengers walk onto the new territory of Mars.

...And lets its passengers walk onto the new territory of Mars.
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