SpaceX's president predicts people will reach Mars within a decade and land on the moon sooner

Business Insider US
(Photo by Paul Hennessy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
(Photo by Paul Hennessy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
  • SpaceX's president and COO predicts that humans will reach Mars before the end of the 2020s.
  • In an interview with CNBC, Gwynne Shotwell also said she thought people will be on the moon "sooner."
  • Her comments echo similar predictions made by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in December.
  • For more stories go to

SpaceX's president and chief operating officer predicts that humans will reach Mars before the end of the 2020s. 

Gwynne Shotwell said in an interview with CNBC: "We should put people on the surface of Mars within a decade."

She then added: "I think it will be in this decade, yes."

Shotwell continued: "I think we need to get a large delivery to the surface of Mars, and then people will start thinking harder about it," adding "then, I think within five or six years, people will see that that will be a real place to go."

Her comments echo similar predictions made by SpaceX's CEO, Elon Musk, in December. Musk said in an interview on the Lex Fridman podcast he thought that in the best-case scenario, people would be on the Red Planet in about five years, while the worst case would be ten years.

He also said that the company's biggest challenge was to engineer a vehicle that can optimise tonnage into orbit and then on to Mars: "Starship is the most complex and advanced rocket that's ever been made," Musk added.

More recently, the tech mogul made another prediction: that humans would be on Mars in 2029. 

Insider previously reported that a human without special equipment would die within minutes on Mars, as Musk pointed out in an interview that living on Mars "will be dangerous, cramped, difficult, hard work."

SpaceX is working toward Starship's first-ever orbital test flight. The ship would be reusable and take crew and cargo to the moon and Mars. 

Before it can launch, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has to sign off and complete an environmental review of the activities at Starbase, the South Texas facility. However, the FAA has delayed the review of SpaceX's new launch four times already.

Get the best of our site emailed to you every weekday.

Go to the Business Insider front page for more stories.

Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo