Elon Musk is ‘confident’ SpaceX will land on Mars ‘about 6 years from now’

Would you move to Mars? The founder of SpaceX Elon Musk aspires to build a fleet of Starships that could enable humanity to become a multiplanet species in our lifetime. Engineering teams at the SpaceX South Texas Launch Facility are working towards developing a reusable Starship capable of transporting one hundred passengers to the Red Planet, millions of miles away.

Musk hopes to achieve this soon. On Tuesday, Musk received Germany’s Axel Springer Award during a ceremony called, “An Evening for Elon Musk – Mission to Mars,” in which he shared SpaceX aims to take the first astronauts to the Martian surface in four to six years. “… I feel fairly confident about six years from now. […] Earth Mars synchronization occurs roughly every 26 months,” he said, in reference to the launch opportunity that arises every 26 months when Mars and Earth’s orbit get closer to each other to enable a shorter-duration voyage. “…If we get lucky maybe four years. We want to try to send an uncrewed vehicle there [Mars] in two years.”

Musk targets to launch the first Starship with cargo by 2022 and the first crewed voyage to Mars in 2026. If the company has a space-ready launch vehicle and ‘gets lucky’ (as Musk said) they could potentially launch the first astronauts in 2024. The first mission to Mars will consist of taking over one hundred tons of cargo that astronauts will need to survive on the rough Martian environment. Vital things like oxygen and food will be transported to Mars first, so, when the astronauts arrive, they will have enough survival resources. Then, the second mission will transport the first humans to the Red Planet.

Musk also shared his first trip to space aboard SpaceX spacecraft could take place “possibly in 2 or 3 years.” – “I am mostly concerned with developing the technology that can enable a lot of people to go to Mars, and make life multiplanetary; have a base on the moon, a city on Mars,” he added. “I think it is important to have a self-sustaining city on Mars as soon as possible. I mean, I am optimistic about the future on Earth but its important to have insurance for life as a whole,” he stated during the December 1st Axel Springer ceremony.

The Starship launch vehicle is rapidly undergoing development at Boca Chica Beach in South Texas, where multiple stainless-steel Starship prototypes are under assembly (pictured above). A fast iteration and testing rate enables engineers to develop the spacecraft swiftly. This week SpaceX will attempt to launch a Starship prototype, referred to as SN8 [Serial No.8]. It will lift off approximately 50,000 feet (15-kilometers), powered by a trio of Raptor engines. Starship SN8 is the first test vehicle that features three powerful engines and aerodynamic flaps that will be tested during flight. You can watch SpaceX operations Live in the video below, courtesy of LabPadre via YouTube.