Investing in Space

Elon Musk says there is a 70% probability he will go to Mars after recent SpaceX 'breakthroughs'

Key Points
  • There is a "70 percent" probability Elon Musk will personally go to Mars, the SpaceX CEO said in an interview with Axios.
  • Musk said in September that he might join Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa on a trip around the moon in 2023.
  • SpaceX has "recently made a number of breakthroughs that I am just really fired up about," Musk said.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk speaks at the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, California. 
Michael Sheetz | CNBC

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said there is a "70 percent" likelihood that he will personally go to Mars, speaking in an interview with Axios published Sunday.

Musk's rocket company has "recently made a number of breakthroughs that I am just really fired up about," he said. He did not elaborate on those new developments, instead focusing on his Mars colonization effort.

"I'm talking about moving there," Musk said.

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Why Elon Musk is more important than Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs

Musk recently began speaking about his personal aspirations to fly in space, as he said in September he might join Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa on a trip around the moon planned for 2023. When SpaceX announced Maezawa as the first person to sign with the company for a private flight, Musk said he was "not sure" when he would go.

"Maybe we'll both be on it," Musk said in September, after Maezawa repeated that Musk should join him on the lunar visit.

SpaceX's plans for taking humans to the moon and Mars hinge on its development of Starship: A massive rocket the size of a 32 story building and capable of carrying dozens of people.

A rendering of SpaceX's Big Falcon Rocket (BFR).

Starship, formerly known as Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), is the key to Musk's vision of creating a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars.

Musk said in the Axios interview that he would probably go once SpaceX gets "the price per ticket to maybe around a couple hundred thousand dollars." Despite the high fare price, Musk laughingly denied that the colonization of Mars would serve as an escape from Earth for rich people.

"Your probability of dying on Mars is much higher than Earth," Musk said.

He compared a Mars trip to signing up for Ernest Shackleton's journey to the Antarctic in the early 1900s.

Watch: This small-rocket unicorn wants to be the FedEx of space

"It's gonna be hard, there's a good chance of death, going in a little can through deep space, you might land successfully, once you land successfully you'll be working non-stop to build the base – so not much time for leisure – and once you get there, even after all this, there's a very harsh environment, so there's a good chance you'll die there. We think you can come back but we're not sure," Musk said.

"Now does that sound like an escape hatch for rich people?" he added.

Asked why he would still go, Musk compared it to the adventurous desire to climb the world's highest mountain, even at the risk of death.

"People die on Everest all the time. They like doing it for the challenge," Musk said.

Watch Elon Musk's interview with Axios here.

WATCH: How taxpayers have boosted Elon Musk and Tesla

How taxpayers have boosted Elon Musk and Tesla