While admitting that his timelines often turn out to be way too "optimistic", SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has claimed his company will conduct the first test flight of its giant Mars rocket early next year. The billionaire told attendees that "we are building the first Mars, or interplanetary ship, and I think well be able to short trips, flights by first half of next year". The company is still way behind on its production targets.
"I could put it all into one company, and the other company would definitely die, or if I split it into both SpaceX and Tesla, then they both might die", he said. Less than 120 minutes later, SpaceX/Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the demo satellites - each measuring about the size of a mini-refrigerator and carrying computer, power, command and control, propulsion and Global Positioning System navigation equipment - had successfully deployed and begun communicating with Earth stations. He also predicted a utopian social model for the red planet, akin to the ancient Greek republics, without the slavery.
The Musk's Tesla will fly in space at a maximum speed of 7 miles per second and will get at 250 miles away from the Earth.
After a string of failed rockets - and near bankruptcy - SpaceX wowed the world with its latest flight, Falcon Heavy, in February.
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".
He said some of the main focuses once humans arrive on Mars will be to build domes, power plants and places to grow crops.
"This has been our pattern in the past".
Elon Musk took the stage about 30 minutes late at the Moody Theater in downtown Austin, Texas, and when he finally appeared, the soldout crowd cheered and jumped to their feet, smartphones glowing.
And he feared a nuclear war would destroy human life on Earth, reports the BBC. Musk called AI a "very serious danger to the public", one that keeps him up at night. 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'. So why do we have no regulatory oversight?
The most important thing Musk believes needs to happen is laying the framework for creating digital super intelligence, if humanity collectively decides that is the right move. And if he doesn't try and get us to Mars, who will?