The space race among private businesses is continuing full steam ahead toward Mars. Working in conjunction with NASA, Elon Musk's SpaceX plans to land an unmanned capsule on the Red Planet in this decade, the company announced on Wednesday.
"SpaceX is planning to send Dragons to Mars as early as 2018," SpaceX wrote in a Facebook post.
The "Dragons" the post refers to are the company's Red Dragon spacecraft. The Red Dragon is designed to transport astronauts but will be unmanned on its first mission. On Twitter, Musk explained that the interior of the capsule is similar in size to that of an SUV and not well-suited for long trips through space.
SpaceX will fund the mission and NASA will provide technical know-how and support, allowing SpaceX to access the Deep Space Network communication system.
Musk has been talking about landing on and colonizing Mars for some time, but he appears to have even more ambitious space travel plans in mind as well: "Dragon 2 is designed to be able to land anywhere in the solar system. Red Dragon Mars mission is the first test flight," he tweeted.
Watch the video below, which shows the Dragon 2 capsule using its "SuperDraco propulsive landing system" at SpaceX's McGregor, Texas facility.