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Here’s how Elon Musk plans to save humanity

Published Sep 10th, 2020 11:06AM EDT
elon musk mars

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  • SpaceX boss Elon Musk has been a proponent of Mars colonization for many years now.
  • He has several reasons for wanting to pursue the dream of setting up shop on the Red Planet, and one of the big ones is as a “life insurance policy.”
  • We don’t yet have the technology to send crewed missions to Mars, let alone set up a settlement there.

In case you hadn’t noticed, SpaceX boss Elon Musk is completely convinced that sending humans to Mars should be the next big leap when it comes to space exploration. However, unlike NASA and other scientific groups around the globe, Musk sees a future where trips to Mars aren’t just for scientific research, but rather to set up permanent residence on the Red Planet.

You don’t have to be an astronomer to realize that sending humans to another planet will be incredibly difficult. In fact, we don’t have the technology to even consider doing so at the moment. Still, Musk is confident that we’ll get there sooner rather than later, and he recently opened up a bit about why he’s so intent on making it happen.

As CNN reports, Musk was part of a recent virtual conference on the subject of Mars research. He spoke about his desire for humans to colonize the barren planet and offered some insight into why it’s become such a big thing for him.

“If there’s something terrible that happens on Earth, either made by humans or natural, we want to have, like, life insurance for life as a whole,” Musk told the virtual attendees. “Then, there’s the kind of excitement and adventure.”

Okay, so obviously sending humans to Mars would be exciting, and I suppose for those brave souls who decided to take the trip, it would be one heck of an adventure. The main thing here, though, is the whole idea of using Mars as a backup for Earth if anything bad were to happen. You could, of course, argue that bad things are already happening, with stronger storms, raging wildfires, and climate change chugging along, but that’s a topic for another discussion.

As far as setting a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars goes, the costs would be astronomical. Without the technology to even make it happen, it’s actually impossible to estimate the total financial investment that it would take to set up shop on the Red Planet, but suffice it to say that it would be the biggest financial undertaking the world has ever seen, and would almost certainly require cooperation from multiple countries.

Musk envisions a future where SpaceX’s own Starship spacecraft makes regular round trips between Earth and Mars, ferrying people and supplies that will be needed to ensure a permanent human presence on the nearby world. That, in itself, is an extremely forward-looking dream, as the company’s Starship prototypes have yet to actually make it to space, let alone travel to anywhere of interest.

Still, Musk could be on to something. If humanity has already messed up Earth too badly, trying to start “fresh” on another planet might be our best bet at survival. Let’s hope we’re not to that point yet, though.