Elon Musk has set an ambitious deadline to put a man on Mars with his rocket company SpaceX and declared that a decade would be his "worst-case" scenario.

The billionaire believes that his company will be able to put a person on the planet within 10 years but hopes for his mission to be achieved much sooner.

Musk said his best-case scenario would be in around five years, after making the bold statement on the Lex Fridman Podcast this week.

The tech tycoon explained that if it was to happen in this short time frame, the vehicle would have to be engineered fast, reports News Au.

"Starship is the most complex and advanced rocket that’s ever been made by humanity. It’s a lot. It’s really next level," he said.

He went on to say that his biggest obstacle was the cost and revealed the thing that "needs to be optimised".

"The fundamental optimisation of Starship is minimising the cost per ton per orbit and ultimately cost per ton to the surface of Mars," he added.

"There is a certain cost per to do the surface of Mars where we can afford to establish a self-sustaining city and then above that we cannot afford to do it.

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"Right now you can fly to Mars for a trillion dollars."

It comes as Musk faced backlash from China after his satellites reportedly had two dangerous "close encounters" with the country's incomplete space station.

The country sent a document to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs which claimed that they had to implement "preventive collision avoidance control" on two separate occasions this year.

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China stated that the encounters "constituted dangers to the life or health of astronauts aboard the China Space Station".

Referring to a near-collision which took place on October 31, the document read: "As the [Starlink] satellite was continuously manoeuvring, the manoeuvre strategy was unknown and orbital errors were hard to be assessed, there was thus a collision risk between the Starlink-2305 satellite and the China Space Station.

"To ensure the safety and lives of in-orbit astronauts, the China Space Station performed an evasive manoeuvre again… to avoid a potential collision between the two spacecraft."

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