Elon Musk wants to visit space by 2021, send people to Mars by 2025

elon musk wants to travel space by 2021 elonmuskpic2
Invest Hong Kong / YouTube
Speaking at the 2016 Startmeup Hong Kong Venture Forum this week, SpaceX’s Elon Musk (aka the real-life Tony Stark) shared the details on a number of his ongoing ideas and projects, including when he’d like to travel to the International Space Station. After serving up an answer of “maybe four or five years from now,” Musk’s interviewer was rightfully caught off guard, however, it was what he shared next about SpaceX’s mission to Mars that really put the jaws of those in attendance on the floor. According to Musk, the Hawthorne, California-based aerospace company plans on sending astronauts to the red planet in just nine years.

You read that correctly; nine years.

While his answer certainly stunned the attending crowd, Musk himself was far less concerned with the relatively small window, saying, “well, nine years, seems like a long time to me.” Though his nonchalance aroused a laugh, a video of the event published to YouTube shows just how serious Musk is in his assessment. Moreover, the SpaceX CEO elaborated on why Mars is so important to humankind, saying the decision to travel to Mars comes down to one fundamental question: what kind of future is more desirable?

“Do we want a future where we are forever confined to one planet until some eventual extinction event, however far in the future that might occur,” Musk says during the interview. “Or do we want to become a multi-fantasy species and then ultimately be out there among the stars, and be among many planets, many star systems. I think the latter is a far more exciting and inspiring future than the former.”

Falcon 9 Orbcomm 2 launch on December 28, 2015
Falcon 9 Orbcomm 2 launch on December 28, 2015 SpaceX

Musk essentially doubles down on this assessment, calling Mars not only the “next natural step” in mankind’s inevitable odyssey into the cosmos, but also that it’s the only planet anyone has a real chance at creating a self-sustaining colony on. In his eyes, once a colony is established on Mars, the advancement of space travel will likely snowball and open up the possibility of forming additional settlements within the confines of our solar system and beyond. Though Musk laughed off the prospect of wanting to go to Mars as a sort of backup plan or exit strategy, the mogul did offer up two separate reasons as to why Mars is important.

“So there’s the defensive reason of protecting the future of humanity and ensuring the line of consciousness is not extinguished should calamity befall Earth,” Musk says. “But, personally I find what gets me more excited is the fact that this would be an incredible adventure. Really, the greatest adventure ever. It would be exciting and inspiring, and there need to be things that excite and inspire people and be reasons why you get up in the morning, you can’t just be solving problems. It’s gotta be ‘yeah, something great’s gonna happen in the future.'”

Dragon capsule testing on May 18, 2015
Dragon capsule testing on May 18, 2015 SpaceX

To show just how SpaceX plans to deliver on these seemingly mountainous goals, Musk says he plans on sharing the architecture of the company’s next phase of rockets, as well as a detailed mission to Mars, at this year’s International Astronautical Congress in Mexico. During the event, it’s likely Musk reveals more about the testing done with SpaceX’s Dragon capsule (seen above), as well as any advancements made with its Mars Colonial Transporter program. As far as more information about what the CEO is doing to prepare for his eventual trip to space? According to him, the journey won’t be that difficult.

“I don’t think it’s that hard, honestly,” Musk says in response to the interviewer asking how he’s prepping for the “ultimate flight” of his life. “I mean, you just float around. It’s not that hard to float around.”

His response on space travel notwithstanding, it seems there’s nothing on our planet or the next that would ever scare Elon Musk away from continuing to do what he does best; persistent and revolutionary innovation.

Gaming

How Epic Games almost made the mistake of ending Fortnite

Former Epic Games production director Rod Fergusson said that he would have canceled Fortnite if he stayed with the developer. The game only started soaring in popularity when the Battle Royale mode was released a few months after launch.
Movies & TV

Skip the sunshine this summer and watch the best shows on Hulu

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
News

What net neutrality? FCC head Ajit Pai would rather regulate Facebook

Ajit Pai isn't known for being a fan of regulation, but in a Senate hearing on May 12, he called Silicon Valley tech companies a threat in response to a question about net neutrality.
Mobile

See Spielberg’s scary horror show on your phone, but only when darkness falls

Steven Spielberg is not only writing a horror story for an app, but he also has a really fiendish idea to make it even more atmospheric: Your phone won’t let you see it until after the sun goes down.
Emerging Tech

Got $400 million to burn? The world’s largest airplane is up for sale

Stratolaunch, the world's largest airplane, is up for sale. All it'll cost you is $400 million dollars. The brainchild of late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the plane was supposed to make space travel more accessible and affordable.
Emerging Tech

Ex astris, scientia: Star Trek logo spotted on the surface of Mars

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been boldly going to Mars and capturing images since 2005, and now it has spotted something where no man has gone before: a structure on the planet's surface which will look familiar to Trekkies.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Plant-based shoes and a ukulele learning aid

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Adobe develops tool to identify Photoshopped images of faces

With deepfake videos making headlines, and campaigns against the Photoshopping of models, people are more aware than ever of the digital manipulation of images. Now Adobe wants to give tools to users to let them spot faked images.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will pave the way for manned missions to Mars

Survival on Mars is a massive challenge for humanity. To cope with the highly variable temperatures, lack of oxygen and water, and high levels of radiation, the Mars 2020 rover will carry instruments to pave the way for human exploration.
Emerging Tech

Facebook builds virtual homes to train A.I. agents in realistic environments

Researchers at Facebook have created Habitat, which is a platform that enables rapid training for A.I. agents. They will receive thousands of hours of training in just a few minutes in the virtual homes.
Emerging Tech

Impossible Foods struggles to keep up with Impossible Burger demand

Red Robin and White Castle have reported Impossible Burger shortages, as it appears that Impossible Foods is struggling to keep up with demand. The company will be selling its meat-like patties in retail outlets within the year.
Emerging Tech

Pass the salt please: Table salt found on Jupiter’s moon Europa

Astronomers have spotted something unexpectedly familiar on the surface of Jupiter's moon Europa -- sodium chloride, better known as table salt. This suggests the under-ice oceans on Europa are salty and similar to our oceans on Earth.
Emerging Tech

Hubble captures explosive galaxy, the site of three recent supernovae

Hubble's latest image is of the spiral galaxy NGC 4051 which is notable for having played host to a large number of supernovae: the first seen in 1983 (SN 1983I), the second in 2003 (SN 2003ie), and the most recent in 2010 (SN 2010br).
Emerging Tech

The grainy texture of Saturn’s rings reveals clues to their origins

New analysis of data from Cassini shows that Saturn's rings are not smooth, but rather are grainy in texture. Scientists believe that tiny moons within the rings cause materials to cluster and form clumps and straw-like patterns.