Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, recently told the Wall Street Journal's Alan Murray that his company will send humans into space within the next three years and to Mars within 10 to 20 years. He also told Murray he even envisions a future with a self-sustaining colony on the red planet.
A video of the interview can be found here .
Musk said SpaceX would provide transportation, but actual colonization would be left up to others.
"We want to be like the shipping company that brought people from Europe to America, or like the Union Pacific railroad," he said during the interview. "Our goal is to facilitate the transfer of people and cargo to other planets, and then it's going to be up to people if they want to go."
According to reports from Discovery News , SpaceX is partnering with NASA to achieve Musk's lofty initiative; as SpaceX is one of four companies sharing a $269 million boost from a NASA-funded investment. Reports indicate that SpaceX and Boeing will use the cash influx to design capsules for space travel, while Sierra Nevada will use their funds to design a winged craft. The other investment recipient, Blue Origin, was founded by online retailer Amazon's creator Jeff Bezos and is a relative newcomer to the aerospace field.
SpaceX will reportedly use the investment for work on its Dragon capsule, a free-flying and reusable spacecraft that will seat seven, according to company information.
Though the Discovery New s report indicated funds will be disbursed when the developers reach certain milestones, Musk and SpaceX are both proven performers for NASA. Last year, Musk was involved in a similar program to design cargo ships. Musk was successfully able to fly a demo ship for NASA, and was compensated with $300 million in government funding for his design and efforts.