TIME space

Elon Musk Unveils Plan to Colonize Mars

The entrepreneur said it would take 40 to 100 years to create a self-sustaining society

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk unveiled his plans for humans to settle on Mars on Tuesday, laying out a master scheme for establishing a colony on the red planet.

Musk explained at a SpaceX event that he would use a spaceship and rocket to launch humans into orbit, bring the booster back to Earth to refuel, then send it back into orbit to rendezvous with the ship and fuel up for the trip to Mars, Fortune reports. The first human mission could take place in 2024, he said, and could deliver people to the planet in about 80 days. This “Interplanetary Transport System” would cost about $200,000 per person.

Musk believes a self-sustaining civilization would encompass about 1 million people, and that it would take 40 to 100 years from the first landing to reach that threshold, the Verge reports. He would accomplish this by sending 100 to 200 people at a time in a fleet of about 1,000 ships, each of which would make a trip about every two years.

“As we show that this is possible, that this dream is real, I think the support will snowball over time,” Musk said on Tuesday. “The main reason I’m personally accumulating assets is to fund this.”

[The Verge, Fortune]

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