Elon Musk, inventor, CEO, engineer, investor, CTO, probably future ruler of all things, has declared that we’ll send missions to Mars beginning in 2018. He also said we’ll send people to Mars in 2024 with an expected arrival in 2025.

In an interview with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg of Re/Code, Musk said that while they’re getting space trips ready for private customers as promised, they also plan to head to Mars to ultimately colonize the planet.

The new Dragon 2 spacecraft, launching next year, will be capable of transporting up to 7 astronauts to the International Space Station. It’s a propulsive lander like the ones we’ve seen land on barges in the ocean that can also be a general science delivery platform to anywhere in the solar system.

Dragon 2 will go to Mars in 2018. That mission will take 6 months and won’t carry people since it doesn’t have the ability to come back to Earth.

This September, at the IAC Conference, Musk will present the architecture for Mars colonization. He says what really matters is being able to transport people and large amounts of cargo to Mars in order to create a self-sustaining and growing city on Mars. The craft will be very big, he says, but wouldn’t say how big.

The game plan for getting people to Mars, according to Musk, is as such:

  • We’ll send a mission to Mars – starting with cargo – every 26 months starting in 2018.
  • We’ll be able to launch people in 2024 with arrival in 2025, he says.
  • The schedule, he says, is a bit uncertain, but he’s confident in that date.

He doesn’t think we should abandon Earth, though.

“Why should be abandon Earth? It’s really nice here,” he joked. He did once say that he wants to die on Mars, though, and it’s looking like that is becoming a real possibility should he actually be longing for a Red Planet grave.

Musk hasn’t been to space yet himself. He says he will eventually go to orbit in 4 or 5 years.

You can watch the entire interview – which has a ton more outside of the Mars mission – below.