In a highly anticipated presentation at a conference in Mexico today, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk detailed his company's ambitious plans to colonize Mars.
Speaking to the International Astronautical Congress, Musk opined that humanity must either expand beyond the planet Earth or it will eventually die out due to an extinction event.
Assuming that the desire to survive will thrive, he envisions humans ultimately becoming a "spacefaring and multiplanetary species."
The first step in this evolution, according to Musk, is traveling to and colonizing Mars, since the conditions of the planet are relatively more welcoming than the Moon and it is within traveling distance for humans right now.
As to how we will arrive on Mars, SpaceX has released a video showcasing their proposed Interplanetary Transport System.
The massive ship, designed to carry 100 people, would make the journey using a complex but clever series of steps.
First the ITS would be launched into orbit via a booster rocket which would subsequently return to Earth.
Once back on our planet, the booster would be filled will fuel for the Mars-bound ship and then journey back into space multiple times to provide the resources necessary for the trip to the Red Planet.
After it is fully equipped, the ship would then venture to Mars over the course of approximately 80 days, although Musk expects technological advancements to eventually reduce that time to 30 days.
Additionally, the large number of passengers aboard the ship, which may even expand to 200 people, would drastically reduce the costs for those who wish to take part in the adventure.
Upon arriving on Mars, a plethora of already-delivered materials would waiting for them on the Red Planet, allowing for the development of new fuel to facilitate the ITS's return to Earth for the next round of aspiring Martian colonists.
This would also provide a proverbial 'escape' for anyone who makes the trip to Mars and has buyer's remorse over the interplanetary expedition.
Ultimately, he hopes to facilitate a colony on Mars that boasts a self-sustaining population of a million people.
Although the revolutionary plan remains largely speculative at this time, Musk expressed confidence that the maiden voyage of the ITS could happen in about a decade if "things go super well."