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SpaceX's Elon Musk unveils interplanetary spaceship to carry humans to Mars

SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk, at a conference in Mexico today, the unveiled the company's Interplanetary Transport System (ITS), which will combine the most powerful rocket ever built with a spaceship designed to carry at least 100 people to Mars per flight.

The reusable ITS will help humans establish a permanent, self-sustaining colony on the Red Planet within the next 50 to 100 years, Musk said at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara.

"What I really want to do here is to make Mars seem possible ? make it seem as though it's something that we could do in our lifetimes, and that you can go," Musk said.

The ITS rocket will be more or less a scaled-up version of the first stage of SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster, Musk further informed. But the 254-foot-tall (77.5 meters) ITS booster will feature 42 Raptor engines, whereas the Falcon 9 is powered by nine Merlins.

When combined with its crewed spaceship, the ITS will stand a full 400 feet (122 m) high, Musk informed on Twitter.

ITS will be an incredibly powerful machine, capable of lifting 300 tons to low-Earth orbit (LEO) ? more than two times more than Saturn V could lift.