Updated 3:30 p.m. PT Updated 3:30 p.m. PT Speaking at the 67th International Astronautics Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, SpaceX founder Elon Musk revealed his company's stunning vision for the colonization of Mars (and beyond) in the form of the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS).
The ambitious plan will answer the question "why go anywhere?" said Musk at his highly anticipated announcement on Tuesday.
"One path is that we stay on Earth forever and there will eventually be some extinction event," he said. "I don't have an immediate doomsday prophesy, but eventually history suggests there will be some doomsday event. The alternative is to become a space-faring civilization and a multi-planet species, which, I hope you'll agree, is the right way to go."
In short, the ITS isn't only a rocket and spaceship that will get us to Mars, it will form the basis of an interplanetary transportation system that could allow humanity to explore the entire solar system while side-stepping this existential threat.
RELATED: Musk: SpaceX Will Go 'Well Beyond' Mars
Ever since Musk's private spaceflight venture was started in 2002, blowing up rockets in the South Pacific until the first successful Falcon 1 launch in 2008, he has made his intentions clear for SpaceX. But Tuesday's presentation went beyond transporting people and equipment to the Red Planet's surface, Musk wanted to emphasize that we need to establish something more than a human outpost.
"How do we figure out how to take you to Mars?" Musk asked. "And (how do we) create a self-sustaining city that's not really an outpost, but a planet in its own right and thus become a multi-planetary species?"
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