SpaceX simply flew a full-size prototype of its Starship Mars-colonizing spacecraft for the primary time ever.The Starship SN5 test automobile took to the skies for about 40 seconds this afternoon (Aug. 4) at SpaceX’s services close to the South Texas village of Boca Chica, performing a small hop that would find yourself being a giant step towards human exploration of the Red Planet. “Mars is looking real,” Musk tweeted shortly after at present’s test flight.Related: SpaceX’s Starship and Super Heavy Mars rocket in footageMars is looking actualAugust 5, 2020The stainless-steel SN5 rose into the air at 7:57 p.m. EDT (2357 GMT; 6:57 p.m. native Texas time). It traveled sideways a bit through the transient, uncrewed flight, which Musk had beforehand stated would goal a most altitude of about 500 ft (150 meters). The spacecraft deployed its touchdown legs as deliberate and caught the touchdown.The SN5 is simply the second Starship prototype to get off the bottom, and the primary to take action in practically a yr. A squat and stubby automobile referred to as Starhopper took a number of transient flights in the summertime of 2019, retiring after acing its personal 500-foot-high hop that August.Ending this flight lull fell to the SN5 after a number of of its predecessors have been destroyed throughout pressurization or engine-firing checks.Starhopper and the SN5 each function a single Raptor, SpaceX’s highly effective next-generation engine. The remaining Starship automobile will sport six Raptors, stand about 165 ft (50 m) tall and be able to carrying as much as 100 individuals, Musk has stated.The operational Starship will launch from Earth atop a big rocket referred to as Super Heavy, which could have 31 Raptors of its personal. Both automobiles will probably be absolutely and quickly reusable, probably slashing the price of spaceflight sufficient to make crewed journeys to and from the moon, Mars and different deep-space locations economically possible, Musk has stated. Super Heavy will land again on Earth after every liftoff; Starship will probably be highly effective sufficient on its personal to get itself off Mars and the moon, each of which have a lot weaker gravitational pulls than our planet does.Musk is significantly eager on the Red Planet, stressing repeatedly over time that he based SpaceX again in 2002 primarily to assist humanity colonize Mars. If all goes effectively with the event of Starship and Super Heavy, the spaceflight system might allow our species to get a million-person metropolis up and working on the Red Planet within the subsequent 50 to 100 years, the billionaire entrepreneur has stated.Quite a lot of growth nonetheless must get achieved, in fact. SpaceX will iterate repeatedly earlier than arriving on the remaining Starship design, which is able to then should be examined. And then there’s Super Heavy, no model of which has but been constructed, not to mention gotten off the bottom. But if all goes effectively, we might see Starship and Super Heavy flying collectively quickly, on thrilling and necessary missions. The SpaceX system is a contender to land NASA astronauts on the moon within the mid-2020s and past, for instance. And Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has booked a crewed Starship journey across the moon, with a focused launch date of 2023.Today’s Starship milestone comes simply two days after one other massive second for SpaceX. On Sunday (Aug. 2), the corporate’s Crew Dragon capsule splashed down within the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast, bringing an finish to Demo-2, SpaceX’s first crewed mission. Demo-2, a key test flight for the system, despatched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station for 2 months.Mike Wall is the creator of “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a e book concerning the seek for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.