In the October of 2015 issue of Popular Mechanics, the magazine got sports handicapper Raphael Esparza of Doc’s Sports Service to come up with some odds on who’ll be the first to put a human on Mars.¬†The way Esparza figures it, SpaceX and Elon Musk have the best shot at getting to the Red Planet first because “they have the want¬†and the funds”, he gives Musk 5 to 1 odds of winning the race to Mars.
The controversial non-profit try to send volunteer astronauts on a one way trip to Mars failed to meet its initial crowd-funding goal and was the subject of a rough review that suggested its astronauts would start suffocating on Mars after just two months. Yet, somehow it is a 15 to 1 bet.
Mars Society’s Mars Direct plan, which dates back to 1990 and is a weird inclusion on the list as it would likely demand a partner like SpaceX or NASA to get off the ground.
Shortly, Esparza’s saying that SpaceX and newcomer Mars One have a significantly better chance of sending someone to Mars first than agencies that have already put men on the Moon, robots on Mars and a probe on a speeding comet.
Launching the first commercial SpaceX rocket took several years longer than he originally hoped, according to his recent best-selling biography. So when he talks about putting people on Mars in just around a decade from now, take it with a grain of salt from the asteroid belt.
Esparza notes that NASA would be his first choice if not for the constant potential for future budget cuts. This is a reasonable hedge, and NASA has responded with a relentless hype campaign of its own to build support for its planned “Journey to Mars” in the 2030s using the social magazine and social media .
It is weird for Esparza to so heavily favor SpaceX when the company is actually worth less than NASA’s current budget, and a huge chunk of SpaceX revenues come from billion-dollar NASA contracts. If NASA’s budget gets chopped, it is likely that’ll trickle down to SpaceX.