Musk made the comments during an interview with XPrize founder Peter Diamandis last week, adding about the journey: “It’s uncomfortable. It’s a long journey, You might not come back alive.”
“We won’t make anyone go,” he added. “Volunteers only.”
Musk has previously said he hopes to one day live on Mars but has not indicated he would be part of any early settlement missions.
He acknowledged, however, that assembling the crews for the first Mars missions will be “like that ad for Shackleton going to the Antarctic,” referring to a newspaper ad that British explorer Ernest Shackleton supposedly placed in a newspaper at the turn of the 19th Century when he sought to assemble a crew for the first-ever excursion to the Antarctic.