Elon Musk is an overpromiser. For every guarantee of a reusable rocket, there's a barely functioning tunnel to weigh it down. With that in mind, feel free to take this next bit with as large a grain of salt as you deem fit: the Tesla tycoon is promising humans will be on Mars within the next six years.
On an awards show webcast, the mercurial tech CEO said he's “highly confident” that SpaceX astronauts will land on the red planet by 2026, per CNBC. Musk said it may be as soon as 2024 and he hopes to send an unmanned spacecraft to Mars in the interim.
“If we get lucky, maybe four years,” Musk said. “We want to send an uncrewed vehicle there in two years.”
Musk has plenty of reason to be confident. He's had one of the best years of anyone on the planet, gaining $90 billion and rocketing into the second spot on the list of the world's wealthiest people. On top of that, SpaceX just completed its first successful manned flight and his initial tests of a hard-wired device that would operate in user's brains was successful. Responding to a post praising SpaceX's successful launch, Musk said frankly, that Mars is on the docket.
The timeframe echoes one that Musk floated cautiously in 2016 before Congress. Musk said then that a Mars flight “might be kind of in the 10-year timeframe.”
“I don’t want to say that’s when it will occur – there’s a huge amount of risk,” he said.