"If we don’t improve our pace of progress, I’m definitely going to be dead before we go to Mars."
Mars or Die
At the Satellite 2020 conference in Washington Monday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk told a crowd of industry insiders and journalists that his biggest concern is to get people to Mars before he dies.
"If we don’t improve our pace of progress, I’m definitely going to be dead before we go to Mars," Musk said, as quoted by Bloomberg. "If it’s taken us 18 years just to get ready to do the first people to orbit, we’ve got to improve our rate of innovation or, based on past trends, I am definitely going to be dead before Mars."
According to Musk, that wouldn't bode well for human civilization outside of Earth.
"Unless we improve our rate of innovation dramatically, then there is no chance of a base on the moon or a city on Mars," Musk said. "This is my biggest concern."
The news comes as Musk has been closely supervising his space company's progress in constructing the first-ever functional prototype of the Starship, a 400-foot stainless steel rocket that could one day ferry up to 100 passengers to distant locales including the Moon and Mars.
Musk's plan is as ambitious as it is grand: if all goes according to plan, he wants to establish a one million people-strong city on the Red Planet as soon as 2050 using a fleet of Starships.
And such a city "has to survive if the resupply ships stop coming from Earth for any reason whatsoever," Musk told Ars Technica last week. "Doesn’t matter why. If those resupply ships stop coming, does the city die out or not?"
READ MORE: Musk’s Top Concern Now Is SpaceX Getting to Mars Before He Dies [Bloomberg]