• SpaceX explained details of its expedition to Mars
  • Starship will use orbiting stations to refuel in space
  • The Mars colony will expand into a city-like outpost

SpaceX recently revealed how it plans to achieve a crewed commercial flight to Mars. Aside from the trip itself, the company also discussed its plans to establish a functioning city-like human colony on the Red Planet.

For years, SpaceX has been discussing its plans to send humans to Mars. According to the company, it is planning on accomplishing this goal using Starship, which is a reusable launch vehicle designed to transport humans to the Red Planet.

During a recent meeting of the Committee on Space Research, Paul Wooster, the principal development engineer for SpaceX’s Mars expedition project, discussed how the company plans to reach the planet and establish a Martian colony.

According to Wooster, the first obstacle that SpaceX will need to overcome is the amount of fuel it needs to reach Mars due to its distance from Earth. The company plans to solve this by using fuel depots stationed in Earth’s orbit, which Starship can use to refuel after its launch.

The first Starship that will go to Mars will only be carrying cargo. If the mission goes smoothly, then SpaceX will deploy other Starships carrying human passengers. The objective of the first humans on Mars will be to find local sources of food and liquid water. Having liquid water will allow the colonizers to extract the necessary elements to create locally-sourced fuel for the Starships.

“We're very much focusing this landing-site identification effort toward areas that have very significant quantities of water ice,” Wooster said during the meeting, according to “That's a very critical resource.”

Then, the humans will begin expanding their colony by adding various infrastructures such as landing pads, power-generation systems and additional habitats. According to Wooster, the goal is to establish a city-like outpost that can house an entire community of colonizers.

“In terms of the vision that we're moving toward, it's really to enable cities on Mars and everything that comes with having a city, having a large and growing population,” Wooster explained.

“This obviously is a very significant endeavor, something that will take many years, many decades even, to really achieve,” he added.

Starship passenger rocket
Elon Musk before a computer generated illustration of Starship, the new crewed rocket from SpaceX. The company has said it will use this rocket to transport passengers on ultra-long flights on Earth. PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images