Planning and establishing a colony on Mars may sound like a distant sci-fi dream, but Elon Musk, the man who helped found PayPal, Tesla Motors and commercial spaceflight company SpaceX, is pretty pretty optimistic about getting us there. In fact, he believes humans will be traveling to the red planet within “12 to 15 years.”
In a recent interview on ABC's Nightline, Musk shared his vision of a human Mars Colony, revealing that he isn't looking to just send NASA astronauts and scientists on an interplanetary mission. Instead, Musk wants to send average Joes like you and I, with the money for the project coming from governments, grants and corporations.
"I'm confident at this point that it can be done,” Musk told Nightline. “I think we'll be able to send, probably, the first people to Mars in roughly 12 to 15 years. That's my estimate… We know it's possible to get there. You would be moving to Mars, so a round trip ticket, it has to be no more than half a million dollars, so roughly, a middle-class house in California, and at this point, I would say, I know it's possible.”
Musk's vision goes way beyond the business of Spaceflight. He continued the Nightline interview by explaining how Mars and recent advances in technology give humans the opportunity to become a “multi-planetarian” species, using Mars not only as second home, but as sort of life-raft in the event that something catastrophic happens to our current residence, Earth.