In an appearance at the 2017 International Space Station Research and Development (ISSR&D) conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took the stage to answer questions about the future of his private space travel organization, as well as how some of his other endeavors may aid in mankind’s effort to become an interplanetary species.

NASA ISS program manager Kirk Shireman conducted the interview on stage before a crowd of space industry experts and journalists, which was fitting, as Musk’s statements would seem to support the idea of NASA shifting its operational goals toward the moon, rather than Mars.  Last week, William Gerstenmaier, NASA’S chief of Human Space Flight, admitted that NASA likely won’t be able to send humans to Mars in the 2030s as planned, due to budgetary limitations.

To really get the public real fired up, I think we’ve got to have a base on the moon,” Musk told the crowd. “Having some permanent presence on another heavenly body, which would be the kind of moon base, and then getting people to Mars and beyond — that’s the continuance of the dream of Apollo that I think people are really looking for.”

Because NASA’s budget may not allow for the Mars mission laid out by President Trump, some have suggested placing NASA’s focus on a Moon mission instead.  A number of other nations, as well as private organizations, have announced plans to reach the moon within the next few years.  If the U.S. can’t make it to Mars and ignores the moon, it runs the risk of simply falling behind its competitors.