The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) may want a successful mission to send humans to Mars by 2035, but car and space tycoon Elon Musk has loftier goals.
Speaking to CNBC, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO said he believes landing the first humans on Mars will be possible within the next decade. SpaceX is focusing on developing technology to ferry large groups of people to Mars, and the new Dragon V2 -- which will eventually be used to take astronauts to the International Space Station -- is the first phase of the project.
"I'm hopeful that the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years, I think it's certainly possible for that to occur," he said. "But the thing that matters long term is to have a self-sustaining city on Mars, to make life multiplanetary."
While SpaceX's financial success and funding in the short term relies upon securing additional contracts, Musk said the firm is happy to continue working with NASA in cargo delivery in the meantime.
Even if SpaceX loses out to the likes of Boeing in securing additional contracts, Musk is confident the company will accomplish its long-term goals. Once the technology is perfected, Musk believes that funding to launch such an expedition will be easier to acquire from the stock exchange.
"We need to get where things are steady and predictable," Musk said. "Maybe we're close to developing the Mars vehicle, or ideally we've flown it a few times, then I think going public would make more sense."
Despite lofty space goals, Musk also said he had no plans to abandon electric vehicle maker Tesla, and intends to stay involved with Tesla "as far into the future as I can possibly tell."
Read on: CNBC
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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com