Speaking at the StartmeupHK Festival in Hong Kong earlier this week, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk said he's going to reveal details about how he plans to take humans to Mars at this year's International Astronautical Conference, which will be held in Guadalajara, Mexico, from September 26 to 30.
SpaceX is developing interplanetary travel and previously disclosed ideas about a Mars Colonial Transporter.
Musk elaborated that the first manned missions to Mars could begin by about 2025, and expressed his desire to fly in one of his Dragon spacecrafts to the ISS in four or five years.
As for why he remains ultimately focused on Mars, Musk turned poetic, citing the need to protect the future of humanity so that "The light of consciousness is not extinguished." An equally important reason, he said, is: "This will be an incredible adventure, the greatest adventure ever, and there needs to be things that inspire people."
It is safe to say there is a fair amount of skepticism in the traditional aerospace community about SpaceX's technical and financial wherewithal to pull off the colonization of Mars during the next couple of decades. But Musk said human missions could begin by about 2025. Asked if this was too soon by the moderator, Musk replied that nine years "seems like a long time to me."