Elon Musk says SpaceX will launch rocket to Mars in 2019

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Musk said he thinks that SpaceX's interplanetary ship will "be able to do short flights, short sort of up and down flights, probably sometime in the first half of next year".

In addition to detailing his lofty ambitions, the SpaceX CEO warned those who are eager to make the journey to the Red Planet there is a "good chance" they could die.

However, he admitted this deadline may be a little optimistic, adding: 'Although sometimes, my timelines are a little, you know'.

Elon Musk says Mars could be a refuge in the event of a third world war on Earth.

On more trivial notes, when questioned on who he was inspired by, Mr Musk said that Kanye West was someone he looked up to.

More pressing to Mr Musk, and the investors that enable him, might be the backlog of orders for the Model 3, Tesla's "affordable" new vehicle.

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The ultimate goal of the mission, of course, is a Mars colony. "There are lots of problems that need to get solved, lots of things that are miserable and kind of get you down".

For this writer, it transports her back to her office building in downtown Orlando, standing atop of the parking structure, watching the countdown and launch live before looking up seconds later to see the Falcon Heavy rocketing up through the sky.

The billionaire entrepreneur has always denied that he wants to rule the planet, and on Saturday he detailed his vision for a direct democracy in which "people vote directly on issues instead of going through representative government".

As to what inspired him to begin looking into Mars exploration, Musk said it was the simple fact that no one else seemed to be doing it. Echoing a previous interview with Y Combinator, Musk said figuring out AI is the single most important thing for humans.

"I think it's unlikely that we'll never have a world war again", he said. After the infrastructure is complete, "then really the explosion of entrepreneurial opportunity [will begin], because Mars will need everything from iron foundries to pizza joints", he said. He added, "Mark my words, AI is far more risky than nukes". They certainly don't think it's possible, but if we do they'll up their game'.

Your view on Elon Musk will likely depend on whether you believe his wild claims about life on Mars.

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