Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has revealed plans to have humans begin the colonisation of Mars as early as 2024.
Musk outlined the bold agenda for his SpaceX company in Adelaide on Friday, including the development of a new rocket and spaceship, code-named BFR (Big F*****g Rocket) to carry more than 100 Martian settlers.
He believes he could send the first two cargo ships to the red planet by 2022 with the first two crewed craft touching down just two years later.
"From there the Martian settlement could just get bigger and bigger," he told a packed presentation at the International Astronautical Congress.
Musk's latest concepts represent a significant change of direction for his company, essentially lumping his eggs all in one basket.
He believes the BFR could be used to also service the International Space Station as well as the development of a future moon village and the human colony on Mars.
The rocket will stand 100m tall with 31 engines to lift a payload of more than 4000 tonnes into space.
Its interplanetary vehicle will be 48m long and feature 40 cabins, each capable of carrying three people.
But Musk says the cost will be much cheaper than other launch vehicles currently available with the added benefit that it can safely return to earth and be reused.
"It's really crazy that we build these sophisticated rockets and then crash them every time we fire," he said.
"It really shows how fundamental re-usability is."
Closing his presentation, Musk also raised the possibility of adapting the technology for terrestrial transportation between the world's major cities.
Travelling up to 27,000km/h, the BFR could cut the longest journeys on Earth to less than 30 minutes, he said.
Later on Friday (Australia time), Musk will travel to Jamestown, in South Australia's mid north, where his Tesla company is building the battery which will play an integral part in the state's A$550 million energy plan to avoid major blackouts and electricity shortages.
The battery is to be located next to a major wind farm and will be used to store power generated by the turbines that can be released into the network to ensure greater stability for the grid.
The Tesla boss previously made the bold promise to deliver the battery within 100 days or provide it for free.
He stood by that promise during his first visit to Adelaide earlier this year.