SpaceX to Spend $320 Million on Mars Mission

spacex red dragon mars NASA
SpaceX's Red Dragon mission plans to send an unmanned capsule to the Red Planet. SpaceX

Elon Musk's private company SpaceX plans to spend around $320 million on sending one of its Red Dragon capsules to Mars, according to NASA.

Speaking at a meeting of the NASA Advisory Council in Cleveland this week, NASA representative Jim Reuter estimated the amount SpaceX was investing in the mission based on the amount NASA is contributing to the venture.

A deal reached would see NASA spend one tenth of the amount that SpaceX would spend, Space News reported. Reuter said NASA would be spending approximately $32 million, implying SpaceX would spend more than $300 million on the mission.

"They did talk to us about a ten-to-one arrangement in terms of cost: theirs ten, to ours one," Reuter said. "I think that's in the ballpark.

"We determined there was a reasonable likelihood of their concept being a successful mission. We thought our expertise would enhance that."

The Red Dragon project, first announced by SpaceX in April, aims to send an unmanned capsule to Mars as early as 2018. Dragon capsules have previously been used in resupply missions for NASA to the International Space Station (ISS).

SpaceX CEO and founder Musk has previously stated his ambitions of establishing a human colony on Mars, making humanity a multi planetary species.

One of the biggest challenges for the Red Dragon mission will be landing such a heavy payload on the Red Planet. If successful, the capsule will be the largest object to ever land on Mars, weighing up to ten-times more than the Curiosity Rover.