Elon Musk aims to get humans to Mars by 2026 to set up civilisation

SpaceX founder Elon Musk has set himself the goal of getting humans to Mars in just five years.

His aim to get them there by 2026 is seven years before NASA aims to land astronauts on the Red Planet.

The Tesla CEO, 49, also claimed he wants to set up a self-sustaining Martian civilisation.

He said the first colony will be a dangerous, frontier-like environment as they set up food production, power plants and propellant manufacturing, MailOnline reports.

Musk said: “It will be fun and a great adventure, but it will not be a luxurious thing to start.”

SpaceX is currently developing the 16-storey tall Starship rocket, which aims to carry humans and cargo on future missions.

Musk, who recently became the world’s richest man after overtaking Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, revealed his ambitions while speaking on the Clubhouse app’s Good Times Show.

The tycoon said he hopes the trip to Mars – which currently takes at least six months to reach – will eventually shrink to just a month, with flights every two years.

But he added the aim of sending humans to Mars by 2026 isn’t a hard deadline because of the technical hurdles.

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Technological advances need to happen by then, including making sure the rocket is fully reusable.

Musk said: “You can't just be throwing rockets away every time, you also need orbital refuelling where you send a ship to orbit and then send another to transfer propellant.”

There also needs to be local propellant production on Mars, he added.

This could involve taking CO2 out of the atmosphere to combine with water ice to create CH4 methane and oxygen, according to the businessman.

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Musk said: “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.”

He added: “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.”

The first humans on a NASA funded rocket are not currently due to arrive on Mars until at least 2033.

Musk’s ambitions come as Amazon’s billionaire chief Bezos is also developing plans to send people into space.

His Blue Origin company reportedly aims to send passengers on the first space tourism flight as early as April.

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