SpaceX founder Elon Musk has predicted that his Mars spaceships will be ready for short flights by the first half of 2019. Musk reportedly held a surprise question and answer session at the South by South West (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas.
“We are building the first Mars or interplanetary ship, and I think well be able to short trips, flights by the first half of next year,” the Tesla CEO told the attendees.
Musk warned that there are chances there will be another Dark Ages if a third world war ever happens. The billionaire entrepreneur said we need to ensure that there’s enough of a seed of human civilization somewhere else, probably on the Red Planet, before the next world war so that we can bring civilization back.
“I think it’s unlikely that we will never have another world war,” Musk said.
Notably, Musk’s long-term plan is to put at least 1 million people on Mars as a sort of Plan B before any nuclear conflict wipes out life on Earth.
The SpaceX founder took a dig at his own timelines saying “Although sometimes, my timelines are a little, you know …”
Back in September, Musk first announced his plans to send at least two cargo missions to Mars by 2022 with the intent of finding sources of water and establish a human settlement on Mars. The SpaceX BFR rocket system is expected to have interplanetary flight capabilities and will be reusable. Musk pegged that a flight to Mars will cost in the $5 to $6 million range.
Interestingly, Musk said that iconic entertainer Fred Astaire and popular hip-hop artist Kanye West are the two people who inspire him the most.
SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy in February this year, sending Musk’s red Tesla Roadster car toward an orbit near Mars.