Tech billionaire Elon Musk expects some fatal accidents when his company starts sending people to Mars to explore and colonize the red planet.

“Honestly, a bunch of people will probably die in the beginning,” the SpaceX boss said in a recent interview with XPrize founder Peter Diamandis. “It’s tough sledding over there.”

He said rather than “an escape hatch for rich people,” Mars exploration will be treacherous.

The pitch to get people to go reads more like the ad that Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton used to recruit people for his perilous explorations of Antarctica, he said.

“It’s dangerous. It’s uncomfortable. It’s a long journey. You might not, you know, come back alive. But it’s a glorious adventure, and it’ll be an amazing experience,” he said in the interview streamed Thursday on YouTube.

“And your name will go in history,” Diamandis said.

“Yes, but you might die,” Musk responded. “And it’s going to be uncomfortable, and you probably won’t have good food and all these things, you know. So it’s an arduous and dangerous journey where you may not come back alive, but it’s a glorious adventure. Sounds appealing. Mars is the place. That’s the ad. That’s the ad for Mars.”


He said the people who board the first rockets will be “volunteers only.”

“We’re not going to make anyone go,” he made clear.

Musk, 49, said in December he was “highly confident” his company could transport humans to Mars in about five years, by 2026, according to CNBC.

“If we get lucky, maybe four years,” Musk said, speaking from Berlin, Germany. “We want to send an uncrewed vehicle there in two years.”

Speaking Thursday, Musk said “we must become a multi-planet species,” for the “survival of humanity and life as we know it.”