SpaceX founder Elon Musk has made no secret of his dreams to colonize Mars. But now he’s opened up about the practicalities and challenges of creating a human outpost on the Red Planet.
“Musk is on an epic run. But he keeps pushing his luck,” Ross Andersen wrote for Aeon Magazine, after sitting down with the billionaire. “In every interview, there is an outlandish new claim, a seeming impossibility, to which he attaches a tangible date. He is always giving you new reasons to doubt him.”
In June, the entrepreneur and inventor said that he wants to take humans to Mars during the next decade. In January 2013, Musk announced he has made plans to build a settlement for 80,000 people on Mars when technology makes it possible for man to live there – as long as the inhabitants are vegetarians.
“Fuck Earth! Who cares about Earth?” he joked.
Now those plans have increased to a million people in order to form a sustainable, genetically diverse civilization, Musk told Andersen.
“Even at a million, you’re really assuming an incredible amount of productivity per person, because you would need to recreate the entire industrial base on Mars,” he said. “You would need to mine and refine all of these different materials, in a much more difficult environment than Earth. There would be no trees growing. There would be no oxygen or nitrogen that are just there. No oil.”
The SpaceX CEO believes the future of mankind depends on our ability to move beyond Earth and into the heavens beyond.
“I think there is a strong humanitarian argument for making life multi-planetary, in order to safeguard the existence of humanity in the event that something catastrophic were to happen, in which case being poor or having a disease would be irrelevant, because humanity would be extinct,” Musk said. “It would be like, ‘Good news, the problems of poverty and disease have been solved, but the bad news is there aren’t any humans left’.”