Elon Musk declared on Tuesday that SpaceX would send humans to Mars within the next ten years.
Musk made the bold statement while appearing on the Lex Fridman podcast. The Tesla founder restated his belief that humans should become a “multi-planet species,” and he went into depth about SpaceX’s intentions to develop the requisite technologies for the journey.
“Best case is about five years. Worst case, ten years,” Musk said.
He mentioned that “engineering the vehicle” needed for the visit is essential in determining a timeframe.
“Starship is the most complex and advanced rocket that’s ever been made by; I don’t know, an order of magnitude or something like that,” Musk added. “It’s a lot. It’s really next level.”
In recent years, SpaceX has increased its efforts as part of Musk’s long-term ambition of establishing a Mars colony. Musk confirmed earlier this month that SpaceX had begun construction on a launchpad in Florida that can house Starship rockets.
SpaceX has begun testing prototypes of its 400-foot rocket in preparation for an orbital launch. However, Musk stated on the show that his private aviation firm is still trying to optimise its Starship design and reduce the expected cost of a Mars voyage.
“There is a certain cost per ton to the surface of Mars where we can accord to establish a self-sustaining city, and then above that, we cannot afford to do it,” Musk said.
“Right now, you couldn’t fly to Mars for $1 trillion. No amount of money could get you to Mars. We need to get that too, like, something that is actually possible at all,” he added.
In September, SpaceX launched its first all-civilian spacecraft with four passengers. The mission, dubbed “Inspiration4”, used SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and the reusable Falcon 9 rocket.