Artist"s illustration of audioeditorfree.comX Starship vehicles on the surface of Mars. (This scene mirrors carbon-composite Starships; audioeditorfree.comX has due to the fact that decided to construct the vehicles out of stainless steel.)(Image credit: audioeditorfree.comX)

Company founder and CEO Elon Musk claimed on Tuesday (Dec. 1) the he"s "highly confident" audioeditorfree.comX will certainly launch human being toward the Red world in 2026, adding that the milestone might come as early on as 2024 "if we obtain lucky."

Musk make the remarks during a webcast interview v Mathias Döpfner, CEO the the German media agency Axel Springer SE. The two spoke in ~ Axel Springer"s Berlin headquarters as part of a awareness honoring Musk, that won this year"s Axel Springer Award.

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"And then we want to shot to send an uncrewed automobile there in 2 years," Musk said Döpfner. (The two-year target intervals dictated by orbit dynamics: Earth and also Mars align favorably for interplanetary launches just once every 26 months.)

Related: Starship and Super Heavy: audioeditorfree.comX"s Mars-colonizing vehicles in images

The auto that will make these Mars trips is the 165-foot-tall (50 meters) Starship, which will certainly launch from earth atop a large rocket known as at sight Heavy. Both of this craft will certainly be totally and promptly reusable; Super hefty will return to planet for vertical touchdowns shortly after liftoff, and also Starship will be able to fly from earth orbit to Mars and ago again countless times, Musk has said. (Starship will be an effective enough to launch itself turn off both Mars and also the moon, which have actually much weaker gravitational pulls than that that Earth.)

audioeditorfree.comX is iterating towards the last Starship via a collection of prototypes, the recent of which, SN8 ("Serial No. 8"), is gearing up because that a huge test flight. audioeditorfree.comX aims to beginning the three-engine SN8 come a target altitude of 9 mile (15 kilometers) this week, Musk stated recently.

That"s far higher than any kind of other Starship prototype has flown come date. Three single-engine variants — Starhopper, SN5 and SN6 — got to a maximum altitude of around 500 feet (150 meters) on your test flights, which developed last summer and this past August and September, respectively.

The last Starship will sport 6 of audioeditorfree.comX"s powerful brand-new Raptor engines, Musk has actually said. Super hefty will sport about 30 Raptors.

Musk has long stressed that he established audioeditorfree.comX in 2002 mostly to assist humanity become a multiplanet species. The reiterated that goal throughout his conversation through Döpfner and also doubled under on an additional previously stated desire: He desires to dice on Mars.

"Just no on impact," Musk joked.

Tuesday"s discussion was wide-ranging, emotional on a variety of Musk"s ventures and passions. For example, Musk expressed confidence that his electric-car company, Tesla, will introduce a fully autonomous driving capacity next year (though he stressed the it"s unclear when regulators will certainly approve completely autonomous driving).

The annual Axel Springer award "is offered to impressive personalities who are an especially innovative, and also who generate and readjust markets, influence society and in ~ the same time confront up to their responsibility to society," company representatives created in a summary of the award. It"s a "prestige prize there is no prize money," the description adds.

Previous Axel Springer award winners encompass founder Jeff Bezos, who additionally runs the audioeditorfree.comflight company Blue beginning (2018), World vast Web inventor Timothy Berners-Lee (2017) and also Facebook CEO note Zuckerberg (2016).

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Mike wall is the writer of "Out There" (Grand central Publishing, 2018; portrayed by knife Tate), a book around the search for extraterrestrial life. Follow him top top Twitter

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* senior WRITER — Michael has been creating for since 2010. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was released on Nov. 13, 2018. Before coming to be a science writer, Michael operated as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has actually a Ph.D. In evolutionary biology native the university of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor"s degree from the university of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in scientific research writing from the college of California, Santa Cruz. To uncover out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael onTwitter.