Elon Musk says SpaceX will fly humans to Mars within 10 years

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Billionaire Elon Musk predicted Tuesday that SpaceX will be able to fly humans to Mars within the next 10 years.

Musk made the bold prediction during an appearance on the Lex Fridman podcast. The Tesla founder reiterated his view that humanity should become a “multi-planet species” and detailed SpaceX’s plans to develop the necessary technology for the trip.

“Best case is about five years. Worst case, 10 years,” Musk said.

He noted that “engineering the vehicle” required for the trip remains a key factor in establishing 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.”

SpaceX has begun testing prototypes of a rocket that could eventually bring humans to Mars.
SpaceX has begun testing prototypes of a rocket that could eventually bring humans to Mars.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft ahead of the Inspiration4 mission on September 15, 2021.
SpaceX’s first all-civilian spaceflight was carried out by its Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket.
Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

SpaceX has ramped up its operations in recent years as part of Musk’s long-term goal to establish a colony on Mars. Earlier this month, Musk revealed SpaceX has begun building a launchpad in Florida that can accommodate Starship rockets.

SpaceX has begun testing prototypes of the 400-foot rocket ahead of a planned orbital launch. During the podcast interview, Musk said his private aviation firm is still working to optimize its Starship design and cut down on the projected cost of a Mars trip.

“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.

 SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carried out its first mission in September with a crew of four passengers.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carried out its first mission in September with a crew of four passengers.
Paul Hennessy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

“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 to, like, something that is actually possible at all,” he added.

SpaceX carried out its first all-civilian spaceflight in September with a crew of four passengers. Dubbed “Inspiration4,” the mission utilized SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and the reusable Falcon 9 rocket.

Aside from its focus on space travel, Musk’s firm operates Starlink Internet Services, which aims to provide a high-speed broadband internet system through a network of thousands of satellites.

Elon Musk
Musk said that currently, “no amount of money could get you to Mars.”
PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images

Starlink was at the center of a recent diplomatic dispute with China. Officials in Beijing warned the US to “act responsibly,” claiming China’s space station was forced to take evasive action due to near-collisions with Starlink satellites.

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