Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during an event to launch the new Tesla Model X Crossover SUV on September 29, 2015 in Fremont, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images). Rocket on Mars. Credit: SpaceX
Having previously teased that he’d like to put one million people on Mars, tech billionaire and serial enterpreneur Elon Musk released the specifics of his plan to colonize space. His paper “Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species” outlines what kind of technology humans will need to make that dream a reality, including how to build a city on Mars, as well as the timeline for this endeavor.
Musk proposes that it’s a necessity to make humans a space-faring civilization, citing the inevitable “doomsday event” that will befall us sooner or later. One big goal in making us a “multi-planetary species” would be to create a city on Mars that works not just an outpost but as a self-sustaining settlement that will drive the planet’s colonization.
The SpaceX, Neuralink, and Tesla Motors CEO sees Mars as the best destination for such a city because it has conditions better suited for a human colony than other planets – it has atmosphere, it’s rich in resources, its day is 24.5 hours, similar to Earth’s. In fact, the red planet is so similar to Earth that “if we could warm Mars up, we would once again have a thick atmosphere and liquid oceans,” writes Musk.
Here’s how Musk compared Earth and Mars head to head:
The big problem in getting people to Mars now? Exorbitant costs of about $10 billion per person, if we were to use traditional “Appolo-style” approaches. Musk wants that number to go down by 5 million percent. If the number is closer to $200,000 per person (a median house price in the U.S.), Mars colonization would become a reality. Musk sees this number dropping even lower eventually, to below $100,000 per person.
How would Musk bridge that gap? Most of the improvement would come from rocket reusability, while other cost savings would lie in figuring out how to refill in…