Truly a man for all seasons, Elon Musk’s next big thing is to build an internet for when people start arriving on Mars.
“It will be important for Mars to have a global communications network as well,” he told Bloomberg Businessweek. “I think this needs to be done, and I don’t see anyone else doing it.”
Musk has said previously that he’s hopeful the first people on Mars can arrive in 10-12 years, and he’s going to bring them there with his rockets.
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But his plan should also help bring higher speed internet to more places on Earth.
Musk’s idea is to place hundreds of satellites in orbit about 1,200 km (750 miles) above Earth, according to the article. Some satellites could be placed in lower orbit to help improve internet speeds and accessibility across Earth.
It would be an incremental process, and proceeds from the Earth internet could will help pay for the $10 billion investment in the colony and internet on Mars, Musk said.
“People should not expect this to be active sooner than five years,” he said. “But we see it as a long-term revenue source for SpaceX to be able to fund a city on Mars. … Our focus is on creating a global communications system that would be larger than anything that has been talked about to date.”
Because light travels much faster in the vacuum of space, internet connections will be improved over existing fiber optic cables. “The long-term potential is to be the primary means of long-distance Internet traffic and to serve people in sparsely populated areas,” said Musk, quoted by Businessweek.
Musk should get together with President Barack Obama, who wants to get higher speed internet across the US: