Elon Musk wants people on Mars by 2025

One can never underestimate the ambition of SpaceX and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk.

After making a bold adjustment to Tesla Motors’ outlook, saying the company could produce 500,000 cars annually by 2018, Musk now says that he says SpaceX may be able to have people on Mars by 2025. More specifically, he expects to launch a manned mission to Mars in 2024, which would arrive in 2025. He made the comments at Vox Media’s Code Conference.

Of course, all these could be subject to delays. The company had to delay the Falcon Heavy launch — Musk says the company hopes to launch it by the end of the year. But SpaceX has also managed to land several of its rockets, and it hopes to re-use those rockets in the next few months, he said.

Musk’s ambitions to visit Mars — or die there, for that matter — aren’t unknown. But Musk is also known for having an aggressive mentality when it comes to expanding his companies’ efforts to accomplish his goals. “If you gotta choose a place to die, then Mars is probably not a bad choice,” he said. “It’s not some sort of Martian death wish.”

SpaceX plans to start running the second version of its Dragon mission next year, which is capable of sending up to 7 astronauts into space, Musk said. From that, he expects the company to start missions to Mars with the Dragon V2 in 2018 — though it won’t necessarily start carrying astronauts just yet.

“The 2018 mission will be a Dragon V2, I wouldn’t recommend traveling to Mars in that,” Musk said. “It has the interior volume of an SUV. This will be a very big rocket. And it also doesn’t have the capability of getting back to earth. We’ll put that in fine print.”

Musk said that in September this year, he’s going to present the architecture for Mars colonization, and what it would require in order to transport a large number of people and a large amount of hardware to Mars. That’ll be necessary to create a self-sustaining and growing city on Mars, he said — and the company plans to start running missions at every opportunity starting on 2018. That means the company will be launching a mission approximately every 26 months, Musk said.

The mission won’t be about finding a way to colonize Mars that’s a replacement for Earth, however, which Jeff Bezos may have implied at an interview at Code Conference on Tuesday. “No, no, I think it’s great — why would we abandon Earth, it’s really nice here,” Musk said.

“I believe is important to the future, ultimately be out there among the stars,” Musk said, “It’s not being a single planet species and moving planets, it’s about being a multi-planet species and have life extend beyond the solar system and ultimately to other star systems. That’s the future that’s exciting. You need things like that to be glad to wake up in the morning. Life can’t just be about solving problems, they have to be inspiring and make you glad to be alive.”