Space flight

Elon Musk shares his plan to make humans a multi-planetary species

The SpaceX chief ruled out moving the moon because it is too small, and Venus too, as it was ‘not at all like the goddess’.

Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk, in a paper called “New Space”, has outlined a vague plan to make humans a multi-planetary species.

Musk has proposed the development of a huge spacecraft to mass transport people to Mars, which he has estimated would cost $10 billion dollars per person. He said a priority was to get the cost of moving to the red planet reduced by five million percent, to the average cost of a house in the United States.

Musk used a venn diagram to show the current situation, with one circle to indicate people who want to live on Mars and another circle to represent people who can afford to do so. “What we need to do is to move those circles together,” Musk said. He said it would take around 40-100 years to create a self-sustained civilisation of around one million people on Mars.

“Given that Mars would have a labor shortage for a long time, jobs would not be in short supply,” Musk said during a presentation of his proposal. The billionaire entrepreneur has ruled out considering the moon as an option. “I actually have nothing against going to the moon, but I think it is challenging to become multi-planetary on the moon because it is much smaller than a planet.”

He said Venus was not viable either as it was “not at all like the goddess”, but a “super high-pressure acid bath”.

His plan, however, was criticised by scientists in the field. “It’s a wild-eyed investment pitch, pumped up by the enthusiasm of credulous fanboys brought up on comic book sci-fi, wrapped in evangelism of saving humanity from itself and the problems we’ve wrought on this planet, a kind of modern day manifest destiny,” The Guardian quoted Mark McCaughrean, senior adviser for science and exploration at the European Space Agency as saying.

“In some ways it is not that complicated, actually,” Musk said about creating a spacecraft that could transport around 100 people to Mars. The SpaceX chief said developments in the area could reduce the travel time to 30 days. “It would be quite fun to be on Mars because you would have gravity that is about 37% of that of Earth, so you would be able to lift heavy things and bound around,” Musk said.

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