The first people who fly with SpaceX to Mars should be OK with the possibility that the decision could cost them their lives, company founder and CEO Elon Musk said.

SpaceX aims to ferry 1 million people to the Red Planet over the next 50 to 100 years using the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS), a rocket-spaceship combo that Musk unveiled Tuesday (Sept. 27) during a talk at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico. (Well, he unveiled the ITS in concept; neither vehicle has been built yet.)

Musk painted a picture of a not-too-distant future in which 1,000 or more ITS spaceships, each loaded up with 100 or 200 settlers, zoom off toward Mars simultaneously from Earth orbit. But it’s naïve to expect that everything will work perfectly from the start, he said. [Images: SpaceX’s Interplanetary Transport for Mars Colonization]

“I think the first journeys to Mars are going to be really very dangerous. The risk of fatality will be high; there’s just no way around it,” Musk said at the IAC, adding that, for this reason, he would not suggest sending children on these flights.

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