SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is serious about building a Mars colony, firm in his belief that human colonization of the Red Planet can actually happen in the future.
But why has Mars always been part — or the main target — of the visionary’s space ambitions? Blame it on the possibility of the apocalypse that could easily wipe out civilization and hinder our future survival as a species.
Why Relocate To Mars?
In his blueprint titled “Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species,” Musk believes that humanity is heading into the pits of destruction.
“One path is we stay on Earth forever, and then there will be some eventual extinction event,” Musk said. “I do not have an immediate doomsday prophecy, but eventually, history suggests, there will be some doomsday event.”
What he proposes is creating a “space-bearing civilization” as well as a “multi-planetary species,” with a self-sustaining city and not just a mere outpost on Mars.
Despite the existence of a few planets in our own solar system as well as exoplanets close to home, Mars is singled out due to the innate difficulties of colonizing others: Venus is too hot and acidic, Mercury needs to be a bit farther from the sun to be livable, and Jupiter and Saturn, on the other hand, are much too far from it.
The moon, Musk added, is too small, lacks an atmosphere, and not quite as resource-laden as Mars.
Despite its distance to Earth, Mars remains a viable primary option given its day-and-night cycle resembling ours, along with the possibility of warming the planet to thicken its atmosphere and access its frozen oceans, and cultivate plants on the terrain.
“You would have gravity that is about 37 percent of that of Earth, so you would be able to lift heavy things and bound around,” Musk noted.
Ultra-Rich Prepper Movement
The ultra-rich from Silicon Valley and Wall Street are among those known to have prolific doomsday preparations. The survivalism movement can count Reddit CEO and cofounder Steve Huffman, former Yahoo executive Marvin Liao, and Soros Fund Management’s managing director Robert A. Johnson among its members.
The 36-year-old Huffman went through laser eye surgery in November 2015, not for nearsightedness but to be well-equipped for a natural or man-made disaster. Liao has acquired weapons and began taking archery classes, while Johnson has started to take notice of hedge fund managers “buying airstrips and farms” in countries like New Zealand.
Then there’s Musk as another doomsday prepper among America’s liberals, seeking to help humanity populate Mars as soon as it can as an answer to “inevitable extinction” on the planet.
A 2014 profile on PopSci compared Musk’s efforts to those of his fellow billionaires. If the man is to be believed, Musk must have “forged an entirely philanthropic life” through his range of professional activities, from the proposed 700-mph Hyperloop system in response to climate change’s threat to the undisclosed amount of money he has poured into AI companies Deepmind and Vicarious in view of a doomsday scenario.
The man behind SpaceX and Tesla simply thinks a Mars colony is the answer. While vague on the timing of these efforts, he revealed that SpaceX will start testing the first development spaceship in suborbital flights.
“If things go super-well, it might be in the 10-year timeframe, but I do not want to say that is when it will occur,” he said, citing “a huge amount” of risk and cost necessary to make the dream a reality.