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Elon Musk has long dreamed of establishing human life on Mars. But when Musk dreams about things, he doesn't reflect on it whimsically or tell his other half about it in tedious detail - he sets about making the dream a reality.
SpaceX - which he founded in 2002 - is in the process of developing its next generation Starship spacecraft, which it hopes will one day be able to transport up to 100 people to Mars.
However, Musk doesn't think the whole getting to Mars bit is going to be the hard part - which gives you a sense of how momentous this challenge really is. Rather, it's the task of setting up camp which could well see early settlers perish.
According to CNBC, during a virtual 'Humans to Mars' conference on Monday, the 49-year-old said: "Getting to Mars, I think, is not the fundamental issue. The fundamental issue is building a base, building a city on Mars that is self-sustaining.
"We're going to build a propellant plant, an initial Mars base - Mars Base Alpha - and then get it to the point where it's self-sustaining.
"I want to emphasise that this is a very hard and dangerous, difficult thing, not for the faint of heart. Good chance you'll die, it's going to be tough going, but it will be pretty glorious if it works out."
"We are going to go to the moon, we are going to have a base on the moon, we are going to send people to mars and make life multi-planetary. This day heralds a new age of space exploration" - @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/rdTj0td18V
- Starman (@RealLifeStarman) August 3, 2020
Musk made the Starship SpaceX's priority earlier this year and he said big strides have been made, however, there is a lot to do yet before people will be sent Mars-wards.
He said: "We're making good progress. The thing that really impedes progress on Starship is the production system... A year ago there was nothing there and now we've got quite a lot of production capability. So we're rapidly making more and more ships.
"We've got to first make the thing work, automatically deliver satellites and do hundreds of missions with satellites before we put people on board."
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