The SpaceX CEO has plans for how to sustain a civilization out there.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is full of innovative ideas, and one of his latest visions is to send people to Mars within the next decade.
Musk plans to launch a rocket to Mars by 2024, with a touchdown on the Red Planet about a year later. People would then be sent to Mars roughly every 26 months with fresh supplies.
"That's what it takes to sustain a civilization," Musk said at Recode's Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California on Wednesday night. "If things go according to plan, we should be able to launch people probably in 2024 with arrival in 2025.”
The plan is certainly ambitious, but it’s not as impossible as it may sound. SpaceX is already making big moves in space exploration, with its Crew Dragon set to fly humans to the International Space Station in 2017 and an uncrewed Dragon spacecraft to be launched to Mars in 2018.
SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket hasn’t yet launched — it’s set to launch in the fall — but it’s the best bet to make it to Mars. The Falcon 9 could make it to the Red Planet, but it wouldn’t have room to carry the amount of cargo needed to sustain astronauts with food and supplies for the journey. Plus, the Falcon Heavy rocket is three times more powerful than the Falcon 9, as Popular Science reports.
When Musk was asked if he wanted to move away from the blue planet we call home, he said, "Why would we abandon Earth? It's very nice here.”
To Musk, it’s not so much about leaving Earth and its troubles behind, but spreading humanity across the universe.
"It's really being a multi-planet species and having civilization extend to other planets beyond the solar system," he said.
If Musk’s vision goes according to plan, SpaceX’s timeline to send people out to Mars will beat NASA’s goal of sending astronauts to Mars sometime in the 2030s.
If you’re curious about some of the other staggering things the visionary had to say, you can listen to the full Elon Musk interview below.
More from that interview: Elon Musk Thinks We Might Be Characters in an Advanced Civilization's Video Game