Chris Saucedo/Getty Images
Andrea Romano
March 12, 2018

Life on Mars could go from science fiction to reality within your lifetime. That is, if you ask Elon Musk.

The SpaceX billionaire claimed at the SXSW festival that test flights for a Mars-bound rocket ship, BFR, could begin as early as next year.

Related: Richard Branson Says New Supersonic Jets Will Get You ‘Around the World in Next to No Time’

“I think we’ll be able to do short flights, up and down flights, some time in the first half of next year,” he told an audience at the festival in Austin, Texas, the BBC reported.

Musk has already made headlines by launching a Tesla Roadster into space using the Falcon Heavy space shuttle, manufactured by SpaceX. People were also skeptical about the success of this launch as well, yet the Roadster is still drifting through the galaxy playing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” on repeat.

Musk’s plan was first announced in September of 2017. According to CNBC, Musk plans on sending a full-fledged cargo mission to Mars by 2022. So, it stands to reason that test flights in 2019 would presumably be right on schedule.

Musk, however, tried to manage the expectations of the SXSW crowd. “Although sometimes, my timelines are a little, you know,” he said, according to CNBC.

The BFR rocket is expected to not only be capable of interplanetary travel, but also be reusable for multiple trips. Musk estimated a flight would cost between $5 and $6 billion.

Of course, the ultimate goals of BFR is to to begin the first human colony on Mars and the assurance of the human race, according to Musk’s vision.

“I think it’s unlikely that we’ll never have a world war again,” he said at the festival, according to the BBC. “This has been our pattern in the past.”

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