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SpaceX' Starships at Mars Basecamp
SpaceX' Starships at Mars Basecamp. Source: SpaceX (opens in a new tab)

Depending on wether you have read the Aerospace Engineering chapters, you might roughly understand how the rockets we're sending to Mars work and you definitely understand the basic features and utility of a rocket. Having that and some basic lunar outpost for space exploration out of the way, what are we going to do once we land on Mars?

First Cargo Trips

First of all, the first Starships to land on Mars are probably going to be unmanned. For humans to survive on Mars, it is necessary for life support systems to run properly, so the first cargo trips to Mars are probably going to be made to lay down a foundation for life support and fuel production systems. Another benefit of a first unmanned cargo trip might be the ability to identify dangers to humans that may not be immediately obvious before having spent some time in the landing zone.

First modules

The first manned trips goal is to maximize the uptime of life support systems and to ultimately ensure the sustainability of the first couple of modules, as you can see in the image above.

Looks a bit like a beginner level Satisfactory base to me, though.

Thereupon, the first power generators and mining machines will be built. Large parts of the contents of the spaceships will be taken up by parts of the solar plants and the production plant for fuel. In the next cycles, larger houses and connections between facilities and plants will be built.

Expansion of Mars Basecamp
Expansion of Mars Basecamp. Source: SpaceX (opens in a new tab)

In the image above, we can see the mentioned connections between plants and modules. The Starship in the middle of the basecamp is connected to other Starships and the camp modules via a tunnel, most probably to use it as an interim storage between the camp and Starships. The base is being further expanded and more solar cells will be put into operation step by step to support the basecamp's power supply.


For a basecamp, this is pretty solid. However, it is very improbable for SpaceX to be able to:

  • afford building any further
  • have an interest in building any further
  • be the only company in the world that was interested in expanding upon the basecamp in the first place

That's why what we are going to be looking at from now on is detached from SpaceX vision for Mars and is most probably going to be a product of many companies and eventually governments participating in building a self-sustaining City on Mars - maybe similarly to how governments have united to build the ISS before.

Let's check it out.

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Additional Resources

  1. You can get more detailed information on SpaceX dedicated Mars page.