Elon Musk’s Plans for Sending 1 Million People to Mars for $500,000 Each
Elon Musk says that 1 million people are required for successful running of a Martian colony
For long, Elon Musk has been voicing his enthusiasm for sending humans to Mars with him frequently recommending that humanity must become interplanetary if it has to survive. Musk had in the past claimed that the human race has the capability to develop gradually to an almost god-like level. However, he also debated that if we restrict ourselves to only one planetary kingdom, then we may not live long enough to reach our potential.
“At our current rate of technological growth, humanity is on a path to be godlike in its capabilities,’ Musk told Aeon.co. “You could bicycle to Alpha Centauri in a few hundred thousand years, and that’s nothing on an evolutionary scale. If an advanced civilisation existed at any place in this galaxy, at any point in the past 13.8 billion years, why isn’t it everywhere? Even if it moved slowly, it would only need something like .01 per cent of the Universe’s lifespan to be everywhere. So why isn’t it?”
Our lack of contact with alien lifeforms could be due to any number of reasons debated Musk, however, none of them point out that intelligent lifeforms have basically never existed within our Universe. Alternatively, Musk suggests that our isolation is in fact proof that we are living in some form of simulation. He also got one more theory that suggests that we can be part of an experiment being run by an even more advanced alien race that is carefully trying to watch our evolutionary behaviors. For instance, it is very much the way a human zoo keeper studies the learning abilities of a Gorilla, or as Musk more-upsettingly puts it, when a lab scientist carefully watches mold in a petri dish.
“The absence of any noticeable life may be an argument in favour of us being in a simulation. Like when you’re playing an adventure game, and you can see the stars in the background, but you can’t ever get there. If it’s not a simulation, then maybe we’re in a lab and there’s some advanced alien civilisation that’s just watching how we develop, out of curiosity, like mold in a Petri dish.”
While Musk cautions that at current cost levels, space exploration is simply not tenable, he also believes that by sending humans to Mars would be humanity’s next ‘great migration’. Having won much praise for his mission to lower the cost of orbital launch systems, the SpaceX founder also disclosed that he not only wants to save NASA money, but also wants to make any possible migration more reasonable for the masses. This is because of the need for survival of our species and not because of some type of misguided benevolence.
“There needs to be an intersection of the set of people who wish to go, and the set of people who can afford to go,’ he said. ‘And that intersection of sets has to be enough to establish a self-sustaining civilisation. My rough guess is that for a half-million dollars, there are enough people that could afford to go and would want to go. But it’s not going to be a vacation jaunt. It’s going to be saving up all your money and selling all your stuff, like when people moved to the early American colonies.”
According to Musk, the masses have many desires when they think about the prospect of packing up and beginning a new life on the Red Planet. The 200,000+ applicants to the admittedly flawed Mars One project is an example of this. While $500,000 may look like an overwhelming amount, it starts to look more achievable for many when you think that you would not be requiring any of your Earthly assets in your future life on Mars. The key to this would be more accessible access to an interplanetary migration, as Musk believes that for successful operating of any Martian colony it requires at least 1 million people.
“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 vast migration methodology is looked by Musk as the important key to success of making humanity a multi-planetary civilization. Smaller colonization projects would restrict the gene pool of the colony making it difficult to maintain and create the numbers required to perform all the operations needed for a Martian colony to exist.
A remarkable number of trips would be needed to carry such a huge number of people to a planet that lies around 9 months away with the current abilities. Musk has already started thinking about that, and even though he has not started designing the “giant spaceship” that he feels would be required for the creation of such a colony, he is already on the way to find a solution for the cost problems. Defining these plans since last year and maintaining that “Rockets are the only form of transportation on Earth where the vehicle is built anew for each journey”, Musk has seen the growth in the development of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket, which will ultimately be able to carry humans and cargo into space and be able to return to Earth. The regular shuttle runs to another planet will become more feasible and realistic believes Musk.
However, this is not the end of SpaceX’s plans. The company last week uncovered the concept artwork for their Dragon Capsule, which could ultimately transport humans and cargo to another planet while traveling a ride on a Falcon Heavy Rocket. While test flights of this Dragon capsule have already started, Musk’s SpaceX team is sure that they could be taking samples of Martian soil by the year 2020.
So, when would the humans set their feet on the Red Planet, Musk made this bullish claim recently:
“I think we’ve got a decent shot of sending a person to Mars in about 11 or 12 years.”