What may only seem viable in science fiction movies, tech mogul Elon Musk now predicts that humans will be able to land on Mars using his SpaceX technology – and it’s much sooner than anticipated.

On Wednesday’s (December 28) Lex Fridman Podcast, Fridman quizzed the billionaire when he thought the concept could become a reality.

After a long 20-second pause, Musk candidly answered: “best case is about five years, worst case 10 years,” adding that “engineering the vehicle” could take some time due to being “the most complex and advanced rocket that’s ever been made.”

“The fundamental optimisation of Starship is minimising the cost per ton per orbit and ultimately cost per ton to the surface of Mars,” the Tesla founder told Fridman.

He highlighted that no amount of money could get anyone to Mars right now.

“You couldn’t fly to Mars for $1 trillion,” he said. “No amount of money could get you to Mars. We need to get that to, like, something that is actually possible at all.”

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Musk undoubtedly has big ambitions for the future. In a series of tweets from last year, he shared his aim to build a thousand Starship rockets and launch three a day to fly one million people to Mars by 2050.

“Needs to be such that anyone can go if they want, with loans available for those who don’t have money,” Musk wrote on Twitter.

He added: “There will be a lot of jobs on Mars!”

Musk has ramped up his SpaceX operations over the past few years to work towards his long-term goal of a self-sustaining city on the Red Planet. He revealed that they have started building a launchpad in Florida to accommodate the Starships and are testing prototypes.

He noted that his firm is knuckling down on the design and wanting to cut the cost of a trip to Mars.

“There is a certain cost per ton to the surface of Mars where we can accord to establish a self-sustaining city and then above that, we cannot afford to do it,” Musk said during the podcast.

We could all do with a holiday right now – even if it means to Mars.

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