SpaceX has a stated goal of reaching Mars and the company has gradually been developing technology that will help it achieve that goal. Elon Musk, the man behind SpaceX, is no stranger to ambitious deadlines that his companies tend to miss more often than not. He has now said that SpaceX will likely be able to conduct test flights of its Mars spaceship by next year.

“I think we’ll be able to do short flights, up and down flights, some time in the first half of next year,” Musk has said. He made these comments during a talk at the South by South West festival in Austin, Texas over the weekend.

However, he was quick to acknowledge that “Sometimes my timelines are a little… y’know,” hinting that missing the ambitious deadline is well within the realm of possibility.

Musk also talked about setting up a city on Mars, a topic that he has discussed many times before as well, saying that it’s imperative for humans to reach Mars before the next “probable” world war breaks out.

He’s of the view that a colony on Mars would reduce the chance of an extended new Dark Ages on Earth if all life was wiped out by a major nuclear conflict. While I’m all for exploring interplanetary space travel, here’s to hoping it does not.

Filed in General. Read more about Elon Musk, Mars and Spacex.

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