SpaceX plans to land on Mars by 2018

Company testing a propulsive landing system onboard Dragon capsule at facility in Texas.

HAWTHORNE, Calif. — SpaceX wants to land a spacecraft on Mars by 2018, the company announced in a series of Tweets April 27.

The Mars landing is expected to be completed by an updated version of its Dragon capsule.

Details remain sketchy at this point, but the company did post a short video showing the testing of a SuperDraco propulsive landing system from its testing facility in McGregor, Texas.

A Dragon capsule, which Space is calling the Red Dragon, is used to transport cargo to and from the International Space Station, according to The Verge.

The capsule is powered by eight SuperDraco engines that allow it to land on solid ground, a technique known as propulsive landing. The engines turn on during the vehicle’s descent toward the Martian surface to slow down the vehicle’s fall and land in a controlled way, similar to how SpaceX lands its Falcon 9 rockets.

Here’s what founder Elon Musk had to say about the Mars endeavour:

SpaceX just can’t stop out-doing itself, can they?

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