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Mars landing by 2018 says SpaceX

BBC News BBC News 27/04/2016
Annotate image of Falcon 9 and dragon capsule © BBC Annotate image of Falcon 9 and dragon capsule

Billionaire Elon Musk is planning to send his Dragon spacecraft to Mars as early as 2018.

Mr Musk has long targeted a trip to Mars and has previously said he can get humans to the red planet by 2026.

His company, SpaceX, is planning "Red Dragon" missions to Mars to test technology for bigger missions.

SpaceX has been developing rockets and has a $1.6bn (£1.08bn; €1.47bn) contract with Nasa to supply the International Space Station.

Last December, it landed its Falcon-9 unmanned rocket upright - a milestone in re-using rockets.

In a tweet, Mr Musk said that its Dragon 2 spacecraft is "designed to be able to land anywhere in the solar system".

But Mr Musk "wouldn't recommend transporting astronauts beyond Earth-moon region" as the internal area of the spacecraft is only the size of a large car.

"Wouldn't be fun for longer journeys," he said in a tweet.

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