Both dates are not accidental. Every 26 months, the Red Planet moves closer to the Earth. Then the start window appears, which allows the shortest flight there. Musk chose 2024 for the Starship's first flight as it will be space-ready in mid-2022, so it won't catch a quick flight this year.
2024 seems to be the best year for the first unmanned mission, and 2026 for a manned one. By then, SpaceX and NASA will develop the necessary technologies to colonize the Moon, which will also facilitate the journey to Mars and the survival of astronauts there.
Unfortunately, the billionaire did not disclose more details of his planned manned mission to Mars. It is not known how many people will go on this dangerous journey, which will last about 6 months one way. It is also not clear how many days they will spend on this mysterious planet and whether they will come back at all. Musk said some time ago that the first colonizers will be real tough guys who will have to take into account the fact that they will not be able to return to Earth quickly.
Musk announced some time ago that by 2050 he wants to send over a million people to Mars with his Starship ships. Recycling rockets and engines is expected to reduce the cost of such trips to just a few million dollars. This means that for ridiculous money it will be possible to organize trips there practically every day and in such a way to transport raw materials and equipment there that will allow thousands of people to survive in the first bases built there.
Although the plans of the head of SpaceX are very happy and optimistic about the start of a new era of space conquest and making us an interplanetary civilization, it tvreview hard to believe that the first people will be able to walk on the surface of the Red Planet in less than 5 years. Anyway, we keep our fingers crossed for the implementation of these beautiful plans and we are waiting for more interesting news from Musk on this matter.