SpaceX’s plan to put humans on Mars seems out of this world. But dismiss Elon Musk and his crazy ideas at your own peril.

Musk revealed today the BFR, a cheaper, downsized version of the Interplanetary Transport System SpaceX announced last year. The rocket, as the name implies, is still huge, at over 100 meters in height, so it will be more than capable to go into deep space. According to SpaceX, the vehicle will be used to take humans to the Moon and then to Mars.

Two unmanned missions will visit the Red Planet by 2022, in order to deliver mining equipment, life support systems and other gear. If everything goes to plan, the BFR will ferry the first human crew to Mars by 2024, in what would be a historic journey.

Anyone who’s been following Musk knows the entrepreneur has a penchant for two things: wild ideas and overly ambitious timelines. This Mars colony thing has both. But even if Musk manages to deliver just half of what he promised, or if he does it in 15 years instead of seven, it will still be an astonishingly important achievement for mankind.

Back on Earth, the same BFR will be able to carry hundreds of passengers to any location on the globe in under one hour.

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