Elon Musk is no stranger to ambition, and the founder of SpaceX was definitely on form while updating employees, guests, and reporters about his ambitious vision of interstellar travel.
That ambition is well-founded as Musk laid out his plan on the 11th anniversary of the first successful orbital launch of SpaceX’s first rocket, the Falcon 1. Musk explained that the newest version of the rocket, the Starship (which also has a Super Heavy booster version) will be able to carry up to 100 people and make trips to the moon, Mars, and potentially other destinations. The Starship measures in at a huge 387 feet tall, and will be completely reusable, making quicker turnarounds possible.
“This is, I think, the most inspiring thing I have ever seen,” said Musk. “Wow, what an incredible job by such a great team to build this incredible vehicle. I’m so proud to work with such a great team.” Musk isn’t content to just have a massive starship, however. His ultimate goal—something he has spoken about ever since founding SpaceX in 2002—has been to make humanity a multiplanet species. To Musk, that means colonizing Mars.
“This is the fastest path to a self-sustaining city on Mars,” Musk said of the Starship-Super Heavy architecture. Musk’s company has also built reusable versions of the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Dragon cargo capsules, and a new Crew Dragon Ship for astronauts, as well as launch pads in Florida, California, and Boca Chica, Texas. “This is going to sound totally nuts but I think we want to try to reach orbit in less than six months,” Musk said. “Provided the rate of design improvement and manufacturing improvement continues to be exponential, I think that is accurate to within a few months.” Should that goal be achieve, people could start flying aboard the vehicle within the next year.
Musk’s ambitious plan still has plenty to address—life support being big on that list—but the progress is evident. SpaceX looks to be go for launch, and that could mean colonies on other planets, and that brings up another question: What’s the area code for Mars?