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Dennis Muilenburg predicts Boeing will be first to land on Mars./Boeing photo 0

Boeing hopes to beat Elon Musk to be first on Mars

October 8th, 2016

Move over Elon Musk. A Chicago company plans to be the first to land on Mars.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg revealed plans for a mission to the red planet last week during the “What’s Next” conference held in Chicago.

“I’m convinced the first person to step foot on Mars will arrive there riding a Boeing rocket,” Muilenburg said at the event sponsored by The Atlantic (and underwritten by Boeing).

His comments come on the heels of Musk laying out his own plans to ferry passengers to Mars. Musk is the billionaire co-founder of PayPal and SpaceX, a private space cargo company.

Muilenburg’s vision is more commercial, with hyper-sonic aircraft shuttling travelers and cargo to different continents in two hours or less, he say. He even foresees space hotels.

Muilenburg recalled a childhood building planes out of Legos and idolizing the late Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the Moon. Muilenburg went on to study aerospace engineering in college and his first job was interning at Boeing. Now in his 30th year at the company, he sees the future in space.

Boeing certainly has the track record to accomplish a Mars landing. The rocket maker helped send U.S. astronauts to the moon in 1969. It built the first stage for Saturn V, which took astronauts to the moon and back. And Boeing has been working with NASA to develop a rocket for deep space exploration.

According to Engadget tech blog, Musks’s SpaceX is aiming for a 2024 manned mission to Mars, while NASA and Boeing hope to launch in the 2030s. Given likely delays and other factors, the blog says, it’s going to be a close fight to be first.

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