Elon Musk has mentioned his plans of taking humans to Mars for a while - and he finally has a timeline for it.
Elon Musk, the SpaceX and Tesla boss, appeared on the exclusive audio-only Clubhouse app Sunday night, joining The Good Time Show to talk all things Mars, memes and monkeys playing video-games in their heads.
About Mars specifically, for the first time ever, Musk has mentioned a time-line to get humans on the red planet. "Five and a half years," Musk told hosts Sriram Krishnan and Aarthi Ramamurthy at the beginning of the show, reports CNET.
While that's not a hard deadline. Musk listed a number of caveats -- there's a raft of technological advances that must be made in the intervening years.
"The important thing is that we establish Mars as a self-sustaining civilization," he said.
The strange thing is the deadline may be a little ambitious, as even USA's leading space agency, NASA, had a much more different date, one which is seven years after Musk's time. The Perseverance uncrewed rover will arrive later this month to take rock samples and search for signs of ancient life on the Red Planet - but the first humans aren't due to arrive on a NASA funded rocket until at least 2033.
That will be part of the Artemis - to the Moon and Mars - mission that will first see a sustainable presence established on the lunar surface.
Musk also answered other questions about Mars. 'Over time you can make Mars Earth like by terraforming the planet by warming it up,' said Musk.
When asked if he would allow his children to go to Mars on a future rocket trip he said 'if we're talking about the third or fourth set of landings on Mars I'd be ok with that,' adding that 'so far none of them are jumping to go to Mars'.
This isn't the first time Musk has spoken about civilization on Mars. A report in November last year found that SpaceX will not be recognising any international law on Mars and will instead follow a set of “self-governing principles” that will be laid down during the Martian settlement.
Elon Musk appears to have very subtly slipped in a clause into the terms of agreement of Starlink satellite broadband services that SpaceX will make its own set of rules on Mars.
The Starlink terms of agreement reads: “For services provided on Mars, or in transit to Mars via Starship, or other colonisation spacecraft, the parties recognise Mars as a free planet and that no Earth-based government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities. Accordingly, disputes will be settled through self-governing principles, established in good faith, at the time of Martian settlement.”
Maybe with its own laws, Musk wanted to beat NASA at reaching the red planet from the start. If that's the case, he's right about his time: getting there much ahead of NASA.