Elon Musk was recently named man of the year by TIME. His SpaceX company has become a key player in the commercialization of space and earlier this year secured an exclusive NASA contract to put astronauts on the moon.
"I think we can do a loop around the moon maybe as soon as 2023", he stated when talking about the subject during his Man of the Year interview. He expects that Starship, the craft that will perform the lunar landing, will be launched into orbit within the next two months.
During the interview, he also made a few intriguing statements about his plans for Mars. He expressed how his goal from the start was to make humanity a spacefaring, multi-planetary species, a prospect he describes as exciting.
He hopes to build rockets capable of carrying 100 passengers to the red planet and producing fuel on site. Those are already news-worthy claims, but what's really causing a stir is when he believes this to become a reality.
“I’ll be surprised if we’re not landing on Mars within five years”, Musk responds when asked about a timeframe for his statements.
Having come from anyone else, this statement would've been seen as unreasonable, but Musk's businesses have racked up some extraordinary achievements so far. Tesla, SpaceX, and Starlink are all ventures that are likely to put him in the history books, so while some skepticism might be in place, dismissing his plans isn't appropriate either. And there's more:
"And the next really big thing is to build a self-sustaining city on Mars and bring the animals and creatures of Earth there. Sort of like a futuristic Noah’s ark. We’ll bring more than two, though—it’s a little weird if there’s only two", he says.
What are your thoughts on these claims? Loud thoughts from an eccentric dreamer? Or a sober projection from an optimist who knows more than any of us?