Elon Musk Predicts 2019 Test Flights to Mars, Warns Early Explorers Might Die

Space sports car now flying toward asteroid belt beyond Mars
The Associated Press

Despite positive affirmations about progress toward sending humans further into space than ever before, SpaceX founder Elon Musk says that there is a “good chance you will die” if you participate in the early voyages to Mars.

At this year’s South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, Musk told an audience that the journey would be “difficult [and] dangerous” and that “[there is a] good chance you will die.” There will be “excitement for those who survive, that kind of thing.”

“I think there aren’t that many people that want to go in the beginning because all those things I said are true,” he said. Still, for some, “the excitement of frontier and exploration exceeds the danger.” He hopes that this adventurous spirit, and the project itself, will spur other countries to work toward a common goal that would create an “explosion of entrepreneurial opportunities.”

Musk said that “they currently don’t think it’s possible so that if we show them that it is, then I think that they will up their game and they will build interplanetary transport vehicles, as well.” Musk predicted that test flights to Mars could begin in 2019, though he admitted such a goal was “optimistic.”

SpaceX rockets are being designed to remain completely reusable between voyages. If he and his company can pull it off, Musk will usher in a world where space travel is not only possible, but significantly less expensive. Perhaps such a world would have room for a personal goal: “I think Mars should really have great bars,” he said. “A Mars bar.” The pun, of course, was intended.

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