The tech mogul's ultimate vision is this: Send a million people to colonize Mars and turn it into a "backup drive" for humanity.

The used rockets of billionaires just might save humanity from doom — here's how

The tech mogul's ultimate vision is this: Send a million people to colonize Mars and turn it into a "backup drive" for humanity.

Which means both SpaceX and Blue Origin will soon be able to send spaceships, cargo, and people back to the moon...

The used rockets of billionaires just might save humanity from doom — here's how

Which means both SpaceX and Blue Origin will soon be able to send spaceships, cargo, and people back to the moon...

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is capable of orbital flight, landing, refueling, and relaunch. Musk hopes to shrink the time between launches to roughly 24 hours, which he hopes could reduce spaceflight costs 100-fold.

The used rockets of billionaires just might save humanity from doom — here's how

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is capable of orbital flight, landing, refueling, and relaunch. Musk hopes to shrink the time between launches to roughly 24 hours, which he hopes could reduce spaceflight costs 100-fold.

But Blue Origin's current rocket isn't powerful enough to put a spacecraft or satellites into orbit. That requires nearly 1,000 times more energy.

The used rockets of billionaires just might save humanity from doom — here's how

But Blue Origin's current rocket isn't powerful enough to put a spacecraft or satellites into orbit. That requires nearly 1,000 times more energy.

Here's what the New Shepard's space capsule may look like on the inside.

The used rockets of billionaires just might save humanity from doom — here's how

Here's what the New Shepard's space capsule may look like on the inside.

The plan is to sell tickets to adventurous passengers, who can experience zero gravity for a few minutes as they fall back to Earth.

The used rockets of billionaires just might save humanity from doom — here's how

The plan is to sell tickets to adventurous passengers, who can experience zero gravity for a few minutes as they fall back to Earth.

Called New Shepard, Blue Origin's rocket system is suborbital — meaning it can only get a ship to the edge of space (roughly 62 miles above Earth).

The used rockets of billionaires just might save humanity from doom — here's how

Called New Shepard, Blue Origin's rocket system is suborbital — meaning it can only get a ship to the edge of space (roughly 62 miles above Earth).

Once the rocket gets close to Earth, the engines light again to help it slow down before the landing. The grid fins help keep the rocket oriented in the right direction.

The used rockets of billionaires just might save humanity from doom — here's how

Once the rocket gets close to Earth, the engines light again to help it slow down before the landing. The grid fins help keep the rocket oriented in the right direction.

Next, some of the engines on the booster briefly reignite to line the rocket up for a landing. Small grid fins open on the sides to help it steer.

The used rockets of billionaires just might save humanity from doom — here's how

Next, some of the engines on the booster briefly reignite to line the rocket up for a landing. Small grid fins open on the sides to help it steer.

You can see the second stage continues on into space. But thrusters on the first stage fire to flip the booster around and point its engines back toward Earth.

The used rockets of billionaires just might save humanity from doom — here's how

You can see the second stage continues on into space. But thrusters on the first stage fire to flip the booster around and point its engines back toward Earth.

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