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Elon Musk says SpaceX Starship will travel to Mars in as little as four years

The spacecraft's first trip will be unmanned.

Updated: October 17, 2020 - 5:10pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk this week said he anticipates that his spacefaring company SpaceX will send its standard-bearing Starship to Mars in as little as four years as part of the first step in a planned colonization of the planet. 

Musk, in a virtual talk during the International Mars Society Convention, estimated that SpaceX would be able to make the 2024 "transfer window," a periodic alignment of the orbits of Earth and Mars that allow astronauts to use minimal amounts of fuel while making the journey. 

Musk, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, has long promoted the initiative of a self-sustaining colony on Mars, though he conceded during the virtual discussion that it will "probably not happen in [his] lifetime."

SpaceX itself is not seeking to spearhead any Martian colony but rather act as a ferry service for personnel and supplies to and from the base.  

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