Elon Musk has plans to send manned missions to Mars, but now says that "a bunch of people will probably die" when humans do finally fly to the Red Planet. Musk recently sat down for a new YouTube interview and in it, he opened up about his candid beliefs on space travel. "Going to Mars reads like that ad book for [explorer Ernest] Shackleton going to the Antarctic," the 49-year-old billionaire told Peter Diamandis on Thursday. "It's dangerous, it's uncomfortable, it's a long journey."
He then added, "You might not come back alive. But it's a glorious adventure, and it'll be an amazing experience." Musk elaborated, "You might die… and you probably won't have good food and all these things. It's an arduous and dangerous journey where you may not come back alive, but it's a glorious adventure. Sounds appealing. Mars is the place. That's the ad, that's the ad for Mars.
Diamandis noted that Musk's SpaceX company still has many people sending in applications to be considered for a manned trip to Mars, to which Musk responded to with his bluntly honest opinion. "I mean, honestly, a bunch of people probably will die in the beginning," he said. "It's tough sledding over there, you know? … We don't want to make anyone go, so… Volunteers only."
My conversation with Elon on Space, $100M XPRIZE, Carbon Capture, Neurolink and the meaning of life! https://t.co/7SZlumlx55— Peter H. Diamandis, MD (@PeterDiamandis) April 24, 2021
Back in December, CNBC noted that Musk already has a pretty near date for sending people to Mars. "If we get lucky, maybe four years," Musk said during a virtual appearance on a German awards show. "We want to send an uncrewed vehicle there in two years." Musk is hoping Space X will be able to send humans to Mars by 2026, which is a few years earlier than NASA's target timeline.
Over on SpaceX's website, the company outlines its goals and explains what it is doing in order to achieve those goals. One main thing is their focus on test flights. "Test flights are all about improving our understanding and development of a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo on long-duration interplanetary flights, and help humanity return to the Moon, and travel to Mars and beyond," SpaceX states.
While it may still be some time before Musk gets to Mars, he will be taking on a different new experience for him. The entrepreneur is making his Saturday Night Live hosting debut in just under two weeks, on May 8. He'll be joined by musical guest Miley Cyrus.