"Life in glass domes at first", Musk wrote in a tweet on Thursday, responding to a question whether Mars will be terraformed already for the first inhabitants. "However, we can establish a human base there in our lifetime".
The tech maverick has previously said that humans can fire nuclear weapons at Mars' poles in order to bring about a melting of ice caps that would then accelerate warming of the planet, making it more friendly to human life.
"Even if something awful happens, and humanity will die, at least some future space civilization, finding our ruins, will be impressed that people have come so far", Musk said. The process to achieve that goal, he says, is both a fast way and a slow way.
These weapons of mass destruction emit large amounts of thermal radiation as visible, infrared and ultraviolet light, known as "flash" when detonated.
His hope of transforming Mars were dealt a blow previous year when a study published in Nature Astronomy claimed that "terraforming Mars is not possible using present-day technology".
According to Musk, the process of changing Mars will "go on for a long time and not have significant results throughout our lives", but the first colony may appear in the near future.
Once they land on the dusty world, the first settlers will get to work constructing a self-sustaining city. Today, he is rumoured to also be visiting the site of the new Gigafactory under construction near Berlin.
Elon first proposed terraforming as a probable solution to speed up the habitability of Mars in 2014, when he described it as a "fixer upper of a planet" in an interview with US TV host Stephen Colbert.
This statement falls in line with wording in Starlink's beta consumer service term.
Under a section titled Governing Law, Musk's company lays out its plans for laws on the Red Planet, saying it will rely on its own "self-governing principles", which will be set up when the time comes.
Musk has taken it upon himself to declare Mars a 'free planet'.
This article has been adapted from its original source.