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The new space race? Elon Musk could beat NASA back to the Moon.

Elon Musk is already plotting to set-up a human colony on Mars, but in the short term, the SpaceX entrepreneur wants to land on the surface of the moon… and beat NASA to the punch.

On the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Musk told Time magazine that he could put humanity back on the moon within two years, albeit with an uncrewed mission.

NASA is currently planning to send a woman to the moon in 2024 and, but Musk’s moonshot comes on to play, he wants to put a man or woman on the surface before NASA.

Musk said that: “I think we could land on the moon in less than two years,” while admitting the idea was “pretty crazy.”

He added: “Certainly with an uncrewed vehicle I believe we could land on the moon in two years. So then maybe within a year or two of that we could be sending crew.”

Whether it would be SpaceX or NASA crews next to put their boots on the moon depends largely on whether NASA drags their heels (so to speak) on the planned mission.

“If it were to take longer to convince NASA and the authorities that we can do it versus just doing it, then we might just do it. It may literally be easier to just land Starship on the moon than try to convince NASA that we can.”

“Obviously this is a decision that’s out of my hands. But the sheer amount of effort required to convince a large number of skeptical engineers at NASA that we can do it is very high. And not unreasonably so, ’cause they’re like, “Uh, come on. How could this possibly work?” The skepticism…you know, they’d have good reasons for it. But the for sure way to end the skepticism is just do it.”

Related: Tesla robo taxi fleet planned for 2020

Back in September 2016, Musk announced the Interplanetary Transport System as the centrepiece of his plan to get humanity to Mars.

Musk described Mars as our “one option” to become an multi-planetary species due to its plentiful sunlight and the potential for humans to warm up the planet through a process of terraforming, in order to make it habitable.”

Musk added that “the probability of creating a self-sustaining civilisation is high” if the cost of traveling to Mars because equal to buying a house on Earth. Around $200,000, which could eventually drop to $100,000, he said. Sponsorship and the necessary labour-needs would make this a viable proposition.

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