Science

Mars or madness? Elon Musk thinks he’ll put humans on Mars by 2026

Instead of cleaning up the mess we’ve made here, Elon Musk offers up more difficult, less practical option.

Elon Musk has said he is “fairly confident” that humans will make it to Mars in six years, with an uncrewed mission able to make it in just two.

The Tesla billionaire spoke at the virtual Axel Springer Award event this week, claiming SpaceX will have the adequate technology to send humans to Mars by 2026. Musk said his prediction was based on the fact the Earth and Mars are synced in orbit around the sun every 26 months. Musk said the next opportunity to get to Mars will be in two years, and “with luck”, humans may even make it in four.

Elon Musk
Photo: SpaceX/NASA

“We want to send an uncrewed vehicle there in two years,” Musk said. “I think if you said we’ll put a human on Mars six years from now, I’d say I’m highly confident, and if we get lucky maybe four years.”

The SpaceX founder said one of his mains concerns is around developing the technology needed to make human life “multi-planetary.” Musk said he wanted to see a human base on the moon and a “city on Mars.”

“I think it’s important that we strive to have a self-sustaining city on Mars as soon as possible. I’m optimistic about the future on Earth, but I think it’s important to have life insurance for life as a whole,” he continued.

This aligns with his 2016 goals, in which Musk said “if things go super well,” sending people to Mars “might be in the 10-year timeframe.” 

While the scientific community hails Musk’s ambition, others are concerned about the ramifications of such endeavours. The Mandalorian director Werner Herzog said that building a city on Mars would be a “mistake”, continuing that he felt strongly about Musk’s plans, saying humans should “look to keep our planet inhabitable.” 


Herzog compared Musk’s vision to fascism and communism from the 20th century: “Our century very quickly will bring to an end technological utopia like colonising Mars. We will end this utopia very, very quickly within this century.”

A thirsty HBO, however, has jumped on the news as an opportunity to develop a limited series about SpaceX, delving into all things space.

We aren’t sure if this is the exact solution to our planet’s demise, but honestly, we’ll take it.