Elon Musk: SpaceX wants to send people to Mars by 2025

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Sitting in the SpaceX Mission Control in Hawthorne, California, SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Musk Elon watches his space capsule Dragon's progress as it heads for splash down in the Pacific Ocean. SpaceX Dragon capsule successfully traveled to and docked with the International Space Station. Astronauts sent Dragon on it's way back to earth on May 31, 2012.

NEW YORK — Are you ready to go to Mars?

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said he’s hoping to send people to Mars by “around 2025.”

During a forum in Hong Kong on Tuesday, Musk said SpaceX is hoping to make these commercial flights in about “nine years from now — thereabouts.”

He also explained the significance of going to Mars.

“It’s the only planet we really have a shot at establishing a self-sustaining city on,” Musk said.

He discussed the importance of inspiring humanity, citing the Apollo program as an example to emulate. Musk also talked about the possibility of extending civilization beyond our solar system.

“It’s really a fundamental decision we need to make as a civilization,” Musk said. “What kind of future do we want? Do we want a future where we’re forever confined to one planet until some eventual extinction event however far in the future that might occur? Or do we want to become a multi-planet species?”

Musk also said he expects to unveil a new rocket model at the International Astronautical Congress in October.

SpaceX plans to send a crew to the International Space Station at the end of 2017. Musk wants to visit the station in the next four or five years.

What’s he doing to prepare for going into space? Not much in the way of zero-gravity training.

“I don’t think it’s that hard honestly. I mean just float around. It’s not that hard to float around,” Musk said.

But it seems SpaceX still has a ways to go. It’s latest attempt to launch and land a rocket failed spectacularly earlier this month.

The SpaceX rocket completed the first step of its unmanned mission — carrying a satellite into low orbit. But, when it tried to land upright on a floating platform known as a droneship, it touched down, tipped over and exploded in flames.