In an interview, Elon Musk has warned people that life on Mars will be dangerous and not for the faint of heart. Musk has been a vocal proponent of colonizing Mars and as the chief of SpaceX, has been spearheading efforts to put humans on the Red Planet within the next decade. In an interview in December 2021, Musk promised as much, saying that humans will very likely land on Mars in about five to ten years, even in the worst case scenario.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX aims to not only take humans to Mars in the coming years, but also build a whole city on the Red Planet. Towards that end, the company designed the Starship that it claims will one day be able to take more than 100 people and 150 tons of payload to Mars in a single flight. It takes between 128 and 300 days to reach Mars, and there have already been multiple unmanned missions to the planet over the past several years.

Related: SpaceX Mars City: What We Know About SpaceX’s Plans

Speaking to TED chief Chris Anderson, Elon Musk said that life on Mars will be far from easy, especially in the beginning. According to Musk, living on the Red Planet will be dangerous and nothing on Earth could ever prepare anyone for that experience. He also compared the Mars colonization mission to a mythical ad that explorer Ernest Shackleton is said to have run as a recruitment effort for his Nimrod Antarctic expedition in 1907. The ad, which has since been dismissed as an urban legend, supposedly called for men to go on a “hazardous journey” to the southernmost part of the world, with a safe return being “doubtful.” Musk also made a similar pitch for his Mars mission, saying “It’s dangerous, it’s cramped. You might not make it back. It’s difficult, it’s hard work.”

Life On Mars Will Be “Glorious” Despite The Challenges

Perseverance photo of a perfect-looking hill on Mars

Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

Mars is said to have an average temperature of -80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is not that different from the temperatures in Antarctica. However, the Red Planet lacks the basic requirements for human survival, such as oxygen and free-flowing water. Apart from the atmosphere and temperature, the rocky surface with pervasive volcanoes and craters will also pose a major challenge to would-be settlers. Despite the obvious challenges with setting up a Martian colony, Elon Musk said that life on the Red Planet would still be “glorious.”

SpaceX is currently prepping to build a full-fledged city on Mars, and has begun testing prototype designs for the massive Starship rocket that is expected to take humans to the Red Planet. During the course of the interview, Musk claimed that the shuttle’s first orbital launch might happen “in a few months.” Reiterating fears about life on Earth suddenly being exterminated by a “giant meteor or super volcanoes or extreme climate change or World War III,” Elon Musk claimed that colonizing the Red Planet would be the logical way to save humanity from extinction.