In case it hasn’t sunk in yet, Elon Musk plans to send people to Mars in the early 2020’s! SpaceX has 2024 set as the tentative date for the very first manned mission to Mars.

Elon outline his plan for the human colonization of Mars in four ‘simple’ steps.

1. Send scouting mission to Mars.

SpaceX Dragon Scout

SpaceX / Flickr

According Elon Musk, the first scouting mission to Mars is set to be launched by SpaceX in 2018 with more to follow.

The purpose of these scouting mission is to determine a safe way of landing and to find a sustainable source of water.

How crazy is this?

In less than two years we, the human race, are going to initiate scouting missions to Mars and try to get water on this new planet so that we can establish colonies!? Wow!

2. Prepare components for return to Earth

SpaceX Fuel Pod

SpaceX Flickr

A SpaceX mission to Mars wouldn’t carry enough fuel to successfully return home, so Elon Musk plans to send fueling stations ahead of the actual mission so that it can get back to Earth.

Once everything is in place, SpaceX will proceed with a manned mission to Mars.

3. Mars pioneers

SpaceX Rocket

SpaceX / Flickr

The very first task of the pioneering crew would be to build a fuel propellant plant to ensure that future rockets can be re-fueled and return safely to Earth. In addition, Mars pioneers would need to build a habitat so that future colonists would be able to grow food and recycle water.

A SpaceX ticket to Mars would initially be quite costly. According to Elon Musk’s recent space travel presentation, initial costs for a single astronaut would be in the billions of dollars.

Though, with improvement of mission efficiency and the advent of possible competition from companies like Boeing ticket prices will drop.

The goal of SpaceX is to reduce costs drastically and allow any person wanting to go to purchase a ticket for around $200,000USD.

4. Establishing sustainable human colonies on Mars

SpaceX Terraforming Sequence

SpaceX / Flickr

SpaceX is set to double the number of Mars missions every couple years and aims for establishing colonies of about 10,000 volunteers each as the minimum the number required for a colony to naturally grow by itself.

Interestingly enough, Elon Musk plans to establish an Earth-like city on Mars where you could do normal Earthly things like buying a pizza from your local pizza joint.

In regards to voting and elections, Elon Musk foresees a direct democracy where people can have a direct say on what goes on without having to elect intermediary political figures.