Elon Musk To Name SpaceX’s First Mars Colonizer After Sci-Fi Spaceship

Sep 29, 2016 04:44 AM EDT

Elon Musk plans to name SpaceX's first Mars mission after a famous fictional spaceship. The first of SpaceX's Mars colonizers will be named after Heart of Gold, a spaceship from Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy," an acclaimed sci-fi novel and one of Musk's favorites.

"I think we'll name the first ship that goes to Mars 'Heart of Gold,'" Musk, CEO and founder of SpaceX, said in a presentation at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) held in Guadalajara, Mexico on Sept. 27, as reported in "I like the fact that it's driven by infinite improbability, because I think our ship is also extremely improbable.

Heart of Gold, which looks like a running show, is powered by the Infinite Improbability Drive, which allows the vehicle to cross great distances in space in mere seconds. When the ship's drive reaches infinite improbability, it could travel to every point in the universe.

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A week ago, Musk revealed on Twitter that SpaceX's Mars Colonial Transporter (MCT) could go well beyond Mars, announcing that the ship might need a new name. The announcement launched a series of name suggestions, including Phoenix, Far From Earth, Musk and Beyond, Enterprise, Transport McTransportFace, and many others.

In his IAC presentation, Musk unveiled SpaceX's Interplanetary Transport System (ITS), which combines a powerful reusable rocket and a spaceship that will carry 100 people to the Red Planet. The reusability of the architecture could reduce the cost per ticket from $10 billion to less than $200,000 or even below $100,000, Musk said.

According to Musk, the ITS will feature lecture halls, movie theaters, and a restaurant--an entirely different experience for space travelers. ITS is the overall transport system and it will contain individual Mars colonizing spaceships, each having a name of its own. If successful, the system will help establish a permanent, self-sustaining colony on Mars in the next 50 to 100 years.

Musk, who is a big sci-fi fan, has named his spaceships after space vehicles from his favorite novels. For instance, the two drone ships that served as landing platforms for the Falcon 9 rocket are named "Of Course I Still Love You" and "Just Read The Instructions" after starships from Iain M. Banks' sci-fi series "The Culture."

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