THE next step in Earth's mission to Mars may be just around the corner.
"We are building the first Mars, or interplanetary ship, and I think we'll be able to do short trips, flights by first half of next year," SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk said during a question-and-answer portion of an appearance at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, according to CNBC.
"Although sometimes, my timelines are a little, you know …" the billionaire added.
Musk first announced his plans in September to send at least two cargo vehicles to Mars by 2022, with the goal of finding a source of water and ultimately establishing a human settlement.
The first cargo ships would bring basic needs to build the infrastructure necessary for future missions.
Musk told his crowd at the annual conference that once the infrastructure is set on the red planet, "then really the explosion of entrepreneurial opportunity [will begin], because Mars will need everything from iron foundries to pizza joints".
He teased one Twitter user before the show that his free ticket to see the billionaire exec would be "worth every penny" and indulged his audience with jokes and answers to unrelated questions, such as who inspires him - Fred Astaire and Kanye West.
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