Red Planet-Ready? Musk Vows SpaceX Trip to Mars

SpaceX Mars launch date Elon Musk and BFR rocket

SpaceX Mars launch date Elon Musk and BFR rocket

Billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk says his company SpaceX is close to sending passengers on test flights to Mars, but with a catch: the trip will likely be deadly.

"It's hard, dangerous, [there's a] good chance you will die, excitement for those who survive, that kind of thing", Musk told the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, of his timeline for launching a Mars-bound space vehicle. "I think we'll be able to do short flights, short up-and-down flights, sometime in the first half of next year", he told screenwriter and director Jonathan Nolan, brother of Christopher, onstage.

The fact that Elon Musk wants to go to Mars is no secret.

Jumping ahead, Musk said others like him would flock to a Martian colony in an "explosion of entrepreneurial opportunity" to build everything from "iron foundries to pizza joints to nightclubs". He also predicted a utopian social model for the red planet, akin to the ancient Greek republics, without the slavery.

The entrepreneur said it was only by luck that SpaceX and his electric vehicle venture Tesla were still in business, the BBC reported. "SpaceX is alive by the skin of its teeth, and so is Tesla - if things had just gone a little differently, both companies would be dead", he said.

His comments about Mars came on heels of a successful launch of SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket last month.

Musk's ultimate goal, he revealed in September 2016, is to colonize Mars, a feat he hopes to achieve by drastically reducing the cost of spaceflight, which makes his reusable rockets key.

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