Elon Musk's cherry red Tesla Roadster in space could be set for an unexpected reunion with its billionaire owner, courtesy of Boeing.That's according to Dennis Muilenburg, the CEO of SpaceX's rival who made the lighthearted comments during an interview at a Politico Space Forum.Muilenberg said 'we might pick up the one out there and bring it back', as he challenged Musk in a race to Mars.The Boeing boss believe he can get humans on the red planet in 10 years, a similar timeframe to that outlined by Elon Musk.Aerospace giant Boeing is working closely with Nasa on its Space Launch System (SLS) to take astronauts into space in future.Nasa's Space Launch System has been dubbed a 'megarocket' and is expected to launch for the first time in 2019.It will carry out its maiden launch next year for an unmanned mission and then will launch astronauts into space via the Orion mission in 2023.The SLS rocket will use upgraded RS-25 engines, which have proven their capabilities over 135 shuttle missions.For the SLS vehicle, the engines will fire at 109 per cent thrust level and provide a combined two million pounds of thrust.According to NASA, the engines are now being integrated into the rocket’s core stage – the largest ever built and taller than a 20-story building.Nasa hopes the SLS will be used for missions to Mars and other planets deeper in the solar system.With regards to the first step of conquering Mars, Mr Muilenberg said: 'I'm convinced that the first person that gets to Mars is going to get there on a Boeing rocket.'Whilst there are definitive plans to take humans in to orbit and beyond, there are no intentions to launch a car.When quizzed as to whether Boeing would be sending a Camaro into space, Mr Muilenburg quipped that he might bring it back to Earth.This appears to be a dig at Musk and his Tesla Roadster that was sent into space on-board the first flight of SpaceX's powerful Falcon Heavy rocket back in February.Mr Muilenburg said at the forum: 'I certainly anticipate that we're going to put the first person on Mars during my lifetime, and I'm hopeful that we'll do it in the next decade.''Space has always been part of the DNA of our company.'What we're working on today with Space Launch System is bigger than the Apollo program.'Most of the country doesn't know about it yet.'The comments that Boeing intends to put human beings on Mars in the next ten years come in the same week that SpaceX's president and COO, Gwynne Shotwell, made the claim.Ms Shotwell said SpaceX will take humans to Mars 'within a decade' at a TED conference in Vancouver on Wednesday.The timing of these comments reignites the rivalry between the aerospace engineering behemoths.In an interview in December of 2017, Muilenburg claimed that Boeing would beat Elon Musk to Mars.A typically brief and direct response from the founder of Tesla, SpaceX and Paypal implied the challenge was accepted.Simply tweeting 'Do it', Musk clearly backs his own company to win the 21st century space
This little competition is great. It's rekindling interest in space exploration and will mean great things moving forward.
One big thing though. Boeing and the SLS are doing it with my tax dollars. SpaceX is not.
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