Boeing boss Dennis Muilenburg believes his company can colonize the Red Planet Mars in 10 years’ time. His comments came when he was interacting at a Politico Space Forum. SpaceX boss Elon Musk has also identified a similar timeframe, and it remains to be seen who will win the race.

Daily Mail UK reports that Boeing is working closely with NASA on its Space Launch System (SLS) that will take astronauts into space. The first launch of this SLS is tentatively scheduled for 2019 to undertake an unmanned mission. That will be followed by the Orion mission in 2023 to send astronauts into space.

A battle of giants

It is a battle for superiority in the race to colonize the red planet Mars. There is some data available on the SLS under development by Boeing for NASA. However, SpaceX has already readied a propulsion system which is its Falcon 9.

Dennis Muilenburg is confident of sending the first man to Mars on a Boeing rocket. In an interview last year he had claimed that his company would win the race to Mars and his competitor Elon Musk had accepted the challenge by tweeting ‘Do it.’

Both appear to be equally confident because the latest claim of Boeing matches that of SpaceX. Its president and COO, Gwynne Shotwell, had indicated a timeframe of a decade for taking humans to Mars. She had made these observations at a conference in Vancouver.

What about preparations

The rivalry between Boeing and SpaceX on colonization of the red planet Mars should see a positive outcome. Engineers in SpaceX enjoy more freedom to work because it does not have to worry about finances. That is how it developed the concept of reusable rockets which has helped to reduce costs. However, Boeing has to make use of existing systems and refine its outdated technology.

Colonization of Mars would mean a specially trained group of individuals who can adjust to the hostile environment of an alien system. In this respect, NASA had selected a group of people to undergo training for living in Mars simulated conditions. It was the project HI-SEAS held in Hawaii. According to Space, the second batch of four people from Korea, Australia, Slovakia, and Scotland will spend eight months in a Mars simulation mission on top of a volcano in Hawaii.

However, there is no information on any similar action taken by SpaceX. This will lead to an obvious question - who will be the first men on Mars. Of course, Bas Lansdorp of Mars One has launched a scheme to train volunteers for a one-way journey to Mars. The Independent UK adds that sending people on such a mission will happen by 2031. It has been delayed because of funding problems. It is possible that Elon Musk could select some of them for his colonization program.