Spaceships headed for Mars could be ready as soon as the first half of next year, the man behind their creation, Elon Musk, has announced.
The Tesla and SpaceX founder, 46, sat down for a surprise question and answer session at the South by Southwest technology and culture festival in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, and updated the excited audience on his quest to get humans to the Red Planet.
‘We are building the first Mars, or interplanetary ship, and I think well be able to do short trips, short up and down flights, by first half of next year,’ Musk told Westworld co-creator Jonathan Nolan, who was moderating the talk.
Ready for take-off: SpaceX founder Elon Musk said on Sunday Mars spaceships could be ready by the first half of next year
The 46-year-old billionaire sat down with Westworld co-creator Jonathan Nolan for a surprise question and answer session at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, on Sunday
However, he admitted this deadline may be a little optimistic, adding: ‘Although sometimes, my timelines are a little, you know…’
Musk announced last year that his private company SpaceX is working to send a cargo mission to Mars by 2022. He hopes this venture helps jumpstart human colonization of the planet.
He said he believes once the hard part is over – building the spaceship – others will jump at the opportunity of doing it themselves.
‘I think once we build it we’ll have a point of proof something that other companies and countries can go and do. They certainly don’t think it’s possible, but if we do they’ll up their game.’
When someone asked Musk how regular folk can help his mission of getting to Mars, he said right now is all about general support and encouragement.
Musk announced last year that his private company SpaceX is working to send a cargo mission to Mars by 2022. Pictured is the Falcon Heavy launch on February 2018
Musk admitted the first humans to dare make the trip will be risking a lot: ‘It will be far more dangerous – difficult, dangerous, good chance you will die,’ he conceded
And although getting to Mars sounds expensive, the billionaire inventor said a flight in the BFR rocket will actually cost less than the initial Falcon 1 flights, which were around $5 to $6million, according to Musk.
Still, Musk admitted the first humans to dare make the trip will be risking a lot.
‘It will be far more dangerous – difficult, dangerous, good chance you will die,’ he conceded.
Once Musk figures out how to get to Mars, the real work will begin, as humans will have to build everything they need to survive in the planet.
A genius’ inspiration: Musk told the audience he’s inspired by rapper Kanye West (left) and iconic performer Fred Astaire (right)
‘I think mars should have really have great bars… Mars bars,’ Musk joked.
As to what inspired him to begin looking into Mars exploration, Musk said it was the simple fact that no one else seemed to be doing it.
‘Where are the space hotels that were promised in 2001 the movie?’ he asked. ‘It just wasn’t happening, year after year. It was getting me down.’
But doing things no one has done before is not his only incentive, he also mentioned some unlikely sources of inspiration: Fred Astaire and Kanye West.