If Elon Musk gets his way, humans will be on the moon by 2026. Over the next five years, so Musk says, SpaceX will work feverishly on inventing the technology required to transport humans between the third and fourth rocks from the Sun. During a Clubhouse chat on Sunday, the tech entrepreneur made sure to mention the 2026 goal isn't a tight deadline, because there are a handful of major technological advancements that need to take place.
Nonetheless, Musk earnestly believes five and a half years will be enough for his private company to develop the resources needed. Some advancements include the ability to shuttle humans between the two planets in one month, rather than the current timeline of six months previously established by astronomers.
"For the first time in the four and a half billion year history of Earth it has been possible to extend life beyond Earth and make life multi-planetary," he said on Clubhouse.
"Humanity is the agent of life and we have an obligation to ensure the creatures of Earth continue even if there is a calamity on Earth, whether it is man-made or a natural calamity - if you look at the fossil record there are many mass extinctions."
The SpaceX chief also says the company needs to perfect its reusable rocket program to keep costs at a minimum. Should they be able to do that, Musk says flights between Earth and Mars could take place every two years.
As the entrepreneur points out, the first group of humans that heads to the Red Planet will be faced with a dangerous, "frontier-like" environment as they'll be responsible for establishing propellant manufacturing, food production, and planting power plants.
"One last thing is that on Mars you need local propellant production," Musk added. "If you have those elements life can become multi-planetary and we can have a self-sustaining city on Mars - which is one of the most important things we can possibly do for ensuring the long-term existence of consciousness."
NASA is also working on getting humans to Mars through its Artemis program. The timeline for NASA's projects would put boots on Mars around 2033 according to current working timetables.
Cover photo by Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images