Elon Musk this week said he anticipates that his spacefaring company SpaceX will send its standard-bearing Starship to Mars in as little as four years as part of the first step in a planned colonization of the planet. 

Musk, in a virtual talk during the International Mars Society Convention, estimated that SpaceX would be able to make the 2024 “transfer window,” a periodic alignment of the orbits of Earth and Mars that allow astronauts to use minimal amounts of fuel while making the journey. 

Musk has long promoted the initiative of a self-sustaining colony on Mars, though he conceded during the virtual discussion that it will “probably not happen in [his] lifetime.”

SpaceX itself is not seeking to spearhead any Martian colony but rather act as a ferry service for personnel and supplies to and from the base.  

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