The Use of SpaceX Hardware to Accomplish Near-Term Human Mars Mission Mars Society

The recent announcement by the entrepreneurial Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) that it intends to field within two years a heavy lift rocket capable of delivering more than twice the payload of any booster now flying poses a thrilling question: Can we reach Mars in this decade?
I believe the answer is yes. In this paper, I will lay out a plan to make use of the soon-to-be-available SpaceX systems to accomplish near-term human Mars exploration with minimal technology development. First, I will layout a baseline mission architecture and plan. In the next section, I will discuss various technology alternatives available within the selected mission architecture. Then, in the following section, I will discuss alternative mission architectures. I will then conclude with some overall observations bearing on the question of sustained exploration and settlement of Mars.
It may be noted that the author is not an employee of the SpaceX company, and does not have detailed knowledge of the SpaceX systems. It will take the hard work and ingenuity of the SpaceX engineers to develop configurations and systems that can make these ideas a reality. Nevertheless, it is apparent that if an approach such as that recommended here is adopted, the requirements and capabilities numbers can be made to converge. We can reach Mars in our time.