Elon Musk ‘Confident’ Humans Will Land On Mars In Six Years
Elon Musk says he is ‘highly confident’ that SpaceX will land humans on Mars by 2026, restating his ambitious plans to establish a settlement on the planet in the coming decades.
Speaking at an awards show in Berlin on Tuesday, Musk said that a crewed flight to Mars would be a realistic possibility ‘about six years from now’.
Mars and Earth align roughly every two years, with plans already in motion to launch an uncrewed vehicle at the next opportunity in 2022.
CNBC reports that Musk added that there was still a slim chance that crewed flight could beat his 2026 target, saying ‘if we get lucky, maybe [we’ll launch one in] four years’.
The comments come as the company prepares to launch the first high-altitude test flight of its Starship prototype – the rocket that will eventually be used on Mars missions – in the coming days.
The Starship is set to be a fully reusable rocket capable of carrying cargo and up to 100 passengers, creating a vision of Mars travel as more like a commercial flight than a NASA launch.
The new rocket has seen a number of delays to its development, with Musk initially saying it could reach orbit and even carry passengers by 2020. Musk has since scaled back the timeline, acknowledging that the Starship would have to fly several missions before it could be judged safe enough to carry passengers.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon rocket was certified to fly crewed missions last month, shortly before it carried four astronauts on the first commercial crewed flight to the International Space Station.
The world’s second richest man has previously said that he hopes that he will ‘die on Mars’, and provided another update on his personal space travel plans last night. Musk said he could make his first trip to space in ‘two or three years’, although he stressed that he was focused on the bigger picture, TechCrunch reports.
Answering a question at the awards show, he said that his main goal was:
[For] a lot of people to go to Mars and make life interplanetary, and to have a base on the moon
Musk first outlined his timeline back in 2016 during the International Astronautical Congress. At the time, he told fellow industry experts that SpaceX was looking at a 10-year timeframe for landing on Mars ‘if things go super well’, but acknowledged that there was a ‘huge amount of risk’ involved.
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