Elon Musk's plan for satellite internet is even more ambitious than originally thought. At a SpaceX event in Seattle on Friday, the Tesla CEO told Bloomberg Businessweek that his unnamed Space Internet venture could one day stretch all the way to Mars — and it could cost $10 billion to pull off.
"I don't see anyone else doing it."
The news comes at the tail end of a busy week for Musk, with the CEO announcing that a five-mile Hyperloop test track is in development only a day earlier. According to Musk, the satellite internet project would make for fast, cheap global internet that isn't impeded by terrestrial wires. "The speed of light is 40 percent faster in the vacuum of space than it is for fiber," he says, explaining that internet provided by satellites in low orbit can serve those in sparsely populated areas. However, the dream doesn't end there; with his eyes already on a future Martian colony, the SpaceX founder wants connectivity to reach the Red Planet when mankind eventually lands there.
"It will be important for Mars to have a global communications network as well," he explains in the interview. "I think this needs to be done, and I don’t see anyone else doing it."
Musk expects the project to take $10 billion and at least five years to get off the ground. In the meantime, SpaceX's resources will be devoted to making satellites in addition to the rockets and vehicles it already manufacturers and tests.