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Elon Musk's Transport System to Mars Is Crazy, But Not as Crazy as You'd Think

Like it or not, it's safe to say that traveling to Mars, let alone colonizing the barren red planet, is still many years away. But on Tuesday, Elon Musk presented his much-anticipated and extremely ambitious plan to create an Interplanetary Transport System that could someday make large-scale human voyages to Mars plausible, relatively affordable, and pretty damn quick, too. 

Speaking at the International Astronautical Conference, Musk unveiled SpaceX's vision of making humans a "multi-planetary species" by colonizing Mars and beyond by using what's been dubbed as an Interplanetary Transport System. As you can see in the video above, the complex system involves massive 100- to 200-seat reusable spaceships and rocket boosters that are refueled in space before blasting the brave souls on board to the distant planet in about 80 days or less. The visuals in the video are absolutely spectacular, so fair warning: they'll likely leave you daydreaming about rust-colored dusty vistas.

Perhaps best of all, Musk claims the system would make voyages to Mars exponentially more affordable, saying a ticket to the red planet should cost around $200,000 or about as much as buying a house, according to a report by The Verge. Sending one person to Mars by traditional means would cost about $10 billion, he said. Of course, there are more than a few questions as to how Musk plans to build an interplanetary transportation system (we're still waiting for a working Hyperloop here on Earth, by the way), but as Bloombergreports, the billionaire inventor and CEO said that if all goes "super well" it could be achieved in a timeframe of 10 years with about $10 billion in investment.  

In case you're already thinking about that Matt Damon movie, Musk admits the risk of fatalities "will be high," according to the report. Either way, there's a decent chance that humans will someday set foot on Mars, and if Musk and SpaceX have anything to do with it, it'll happen sooner rather than later. And, best of all, you might be able to go. 

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Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and has been fascinated by Mars since he was a kid. Send news tips to news@thrillist.com and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.