Humans may be just a few decades away from landing on Mars and creating a self-sustainable civilization, according to predictions from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
The billionaire, who often tweets about space travel and hints at establishing human civilization on other planets, made the projection after a Twitter user asked Musk what the “estimated timeframe for creating a self-sustaining civilization on Mars” would be.
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“20 to 30 years from first human landing if launch rate growth is exponential,” Musk said in response. “Assumes transferring ~100k each rendezvous and ~1M total people needed.”
Musk has previously hinted at future endeavors to land on Mars, predicting in a Twitter post in March that a crewed mission to the red planet could happen as soon as 2029. He has long talked of wanting to visit Mars, telling a crowd at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, in 2016 that he wanted to build a rocket to transport people to the plant to establish a permanent city.
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However, plans to develop the rocket that would eventually place a human settlement on the red planet experienced setbacks earlier this month when a prototype exploded during a ground test. Musk had initially hoped the rocket would take part in the ship’s first unmanned orbital flight later this month, but it’s unclear whether the mishap would delay that attempt.
No country has attempted a human landing on Mars, although three have successfully landed rovers there, including the United States, China, and the former Soviet Union. Europe and Russia planned to launch another rover to Mars earlier this year to investigate whether there are signs of life on the red planet, but that mission was postponed due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.