The Space Exploration Technologies Corporation on Sunday night tested its Raptor rocket engine, which it says will be used to send human beings to Mars by 2024, reported The Verge. The California-based aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company tested the firing at its facility in Texas. The Raptor is a next generation rocket engine that will be used to power SpaceX’s Mars Colonial Transporter.

The two pictures, which were posted on Twitter by SpaceX chief Elon Musk, revealed that the methane-fuelled rocket is far ahead of SpaceX's Merlin engines that power the Falcon 9 rocket. Musk also gave out a few details of the rocket, including production goals and chamber pressure. He tweeted, "Production Raptor goal is specific impulse of 382 seconds and thrust of 3 MN at 300 bar. [The] Chamber pressure is almost 3x Merlin."

The news comes at a time when Musk is expected to unveil the design of the Mars Colonial Transporter and how he plans to "colonise the Red Planet" at the International Astronautical Conference in Mexico. According to Engadget, he will share budget details and seek financial help from the government and the scientific community. SpaceX will start a series of unmanned mission from 2018 before its sends human beings to the Red Planet in 2024.