Elon Musk is not a patient man.
To give you some idea of just how soon that is NASA won't be sending a human being until well into the 2030s.
While this might sound bold for a private company like Space X it's the kind of claim that Musk is used to.
This then is not a person who enjoys red tape. While Space X won't be sending a human being there the Dragon spacecraft will easily be the largest object ever sent to Mars and will contain a plethora of equipment.
Space X's Dragon spacecraft is impressive for a number of reasons, the first being that while it can use normal parachutes to return back to Earth it also comes equipped with a SuperDraco propulsion system.
This would essentially allow the Dragon to land vertically on the surface of Mars.
NASA's own goal to reach Mars is slightly more measured. The space agency plans to send astronauts to an asteroid orbiting the Moon first in 2025.
From there NASA will then start looking at the logistics of creating a semi-permanent base on the surface of Mars.
While it's unlikely that Space X will be able to get humans onto the red planet before 2025 the fact that they're sending a human-capable spacecraft so soon is a strong first step.