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SpaceX’s Elon Musk Says They’ll Send Humans to Mars in 2024

Do you want to go? OK, now how about if you can't come back?

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If the Martians are planning to make good on any War of the Worlds-type scenarios, they’d better do it soon. Otherwise, we’re going to do it to them. SpaceX’s Elon Musk has already said they’re going to send a test flight to Mars in 2018, and he’s now mentioned that he’s confident they can put human beings on Mars in 2024. Hey, at least we already know Mars’ environment will kill us. That should give us a leg up on our invasion—in addition to the fact that no one lives on Mars.

Speaking at the Code Conference last night, Musk said, “If things go according to plan, we should be able to—we should be able to—launch people in 2024, with arrival in 2025. That’s the game plan.” That’s the plan, indeed, but what’s not part of the plan is bringing those humans home—no Matt Damoning here. The initial trip will take about six months in the Dragon V2 crew capsule, the interior of which is about the same size as a large SUV, but there will be no return trip for the brave explorers on board.

Instead, they’ll need “cargo flights to Mars that people can count on” to stay alive on the foreign world. Experimental potato farms will only get you so far, you see. That’s why it’s so important to get test flights to Mars up and running as soon as possible—not only because Mars-bound humans would like a bit of assurance that they’ll live past their landing, but to make sure we can keep them supported with supplies while they’re up there. We already do this routinely with the International Space Station, of course, but SpaceX knows better than most that even that doesn’t always go off without a hitch, so we’d better be extra sure we can handle it on Mars.

Hey, maybe someday we could even send something there to bring them home. Bonus points if they fly around like Iron Man to pull it off. (Disclaimer: There are no bonus points. The bonus is just coming back to Earth.)

(via CCN, image via NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center)

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