Humans On Mars by 2026? Elon Musk Thinks So

6/19/14 11:12AM EST

Humans On Mars by 2026 Elon Musk Thinks So Humans On Mars by 2026? Elon Musk Thinks So

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He’s already helping astronauts get to space in a state-of-the-art space taxi, and he’s revolutionized the way we look at electric cars and luxury, but Space X and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is ready for the next big thing. He’s got his eyes on Mars.

Musk, recently named CNBC’s “Number 1 Disruptor” for his larger-than-life accomplishments told the news channel earlier this week that his vision for setting up camp on the Red Planet is in the very near future.

“I’m hopeful that the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years,” Musk said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”

I think it’s certainly possible for that to occur. But the thing that really matters long term is to have a self-sustaining city on Mars — to make life multi-planetary.”

And if humans can’t figure out a way to be a multi-planetary species? Oh, well then we’ll just die out from a mass extinction, Musk says, and then learn how to do it.

Musk’s new game plan for Mars colonization isn’t a new one. He has talked openly — and seriously — about moving humans off of Earth to the neighboring planet. The billionaire CEO and innovator has mentioned in previous interviews his vision of bioengineering animals and even humans by altering genetics and creating synthetic organisms in order to better adapt to the environment on Mars— something that Musk agrees is a “tricky subject” but not out of this world.

“Humanity’s kind of done that over time by selective breeding,” Musk said in an interview with Raw Science.

You know, cows didn’t evolve in the wild, but that’s a very slow process that requires hundreds of generations, whereas I think with actual bioengineering we could make that happen a lot faster and maybe with more precision.”

Musk explained that to even begin thinking about colonizing Mars, we first have to consider practically the travel time, and when it would make sense to make the journey between the two planets. The orbits of Earth and Mars only sync up about every two years, he says, and for a period of only about six months — making this the golden window of time. A roundtrip to Mars needs to fit into that six-month time slot.

Call us crazy, Elon Musk, but we believe in you and your crazy schemes.

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