The CEO of Boeing, Dennis Muilenberg, thinks he can beat Elon Musk at his own game.
Musk has vowed to send humans to Mars by 2024, but Muilenberg thinks Boeing can get their first.
“I’m convinced the first person to step foot on Mars will arrive there riding a Boeing rocket,” he said at conference in Chicago, Bloomberg reported.
Boeing built the first stage of the Saturn V, the world’s most powerful rocket of all time, more than 50 years ago.
It’s now working with NASA to build the Space Launch System, a heavy-lift rocket designed for deep space exploration.
Alongside Musk’s Space X, Boeing is also transporting astronauts to the International Space Station.
Musk announced his plan to colonise Mars at a space conference last month, which could culminate in trips to the Red Planet costing just $150,000.
Muilenberg, meanwhile, envisions space crafts ferrying humans to a number of locations in Earth’s orbit, including dozens of hotels and micro-gravity labs.
He said he sees space tourism nearer to Earth “blossoming over the next couple of decades into a viable commercial market”.
Boeing isn’t Musk’s only competitor. Mars One, a not-for-profit is also hoping to establish the first human colony on Mars. More than 200,000 people have applied for its astronaut selection programme.