SpaceX boss Elon Musk has made no secret of his desire to colonise Mars in the future, but some people are doubting whether he even knows what the planet looks like. The South African-born billionaire made an embarrassing gaffe when he tweeted an image with the caption “Occupy Mars”.
However, the Twittersphere was quick to notice that the red celestial body in the image was not Mars, but actually a blood Moon.
A blood Moon is when our lunar satellite takes on a slightly red hue.
This is because the light from the Sun is being bent when it passes through the Earth’s atmosphere.
This bizarre effect is known as ‘Rayleigh scattering’, which filters out bands of green and violet light in the atmosphere during an eclipse leaving just a red glow.
Elon Musk ridiculed for tweeting picture of ‘Mars’ – which was actually the Moon
Elon Musk accidentally tweeted an image of the Moon
Many will be hoping that Mr Musk knows the difference, with one person responding simply: “That’s the Moon.”
Even famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson piled on the ridicule, as he responded: “Elon, Can I assume you know that the Mars in your ‘Occupy Mars’ Tweet is actually an image of the Full Moon during a lunar eclipse, but the image on my shirt is Mars for real. -Neil”.
Mr Musk was quick to acknowledge the gaffe, by stating it was simply a mistake.
He said: “I did an image search on my phone and posted without looking closely.”
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Neil deGrasse Tyson spotted the error
Billionaire MrMusk and his SpaceX company along with a host of space agencies such as NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and China have dreams of colonising other planets.
However, before a space agency can get to Mars, it has to first get back to the Moon.
NASA has decided it has unfinished business on our lunar satellite and wants to set up a permanent base on the Moon, with the missions hopefully taking place in 2024.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine made the announcement that he wants to set up a lunar colony and called on “the best and brightest of American industry to help design and develop “human lunar landers”.
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Mars is the ultimate destination
The base would be used as a checkpoint between Earth and Mars while also allowing astronauts to study the Moon in close detail.
NASA said: “After returning humans to the Moon in 2024, NASA plans to establish sustainable lunar exploration by 2028.
“Gaining new experiences on and around the Moon will prepare NASA to send the first humans to Mars in the mid-2030s.
“NASA expects to select the new class of astronaut candidates in mid-2021 to begin training as the next class of Artemis Generation astronauts.”