Tesla Motors and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has some lofty goals. He thinks the SpaceX program can put humans on Mars in 10-12 years:
"I'm hopeful that the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years, I think it's certainly possible for that to occur," he told CNBC. "But the thing that matters long term is to have a self-sustaining city on Mars, to make life multi-planetary."
Musk said that the SpaceX goal was essential to the future survival of humanity. Either mankind would slip the surly bonds of Earth and become an interplanetary species, or remain a single-planet culture and become extinct due to a man-made or natural catastrophe.
Musk's schedule puts him well ahead of NASA, which is only talking about getting man to Mars by the 2030s – and then only if it can get billions in public funding and build a rocket big enough for the job. Musk's Falcon Heavy booster is scheduled to fly within the next year, and will carry enough payload to make assembling a Mars spaceship possible.
See the CNBC interview with below the fold: