The prospect of colonizing Mars is one which continues to inch forward with the passing of time, and in the final episode of Axios’ four-part documentary series, which is due to be aired on Sunday evening on HBO, Elon Musk has stated that there is a 70 percent chance that he will personally be visiting the planet himself, while dismissing the false notion that heading to Mars is somehow an “escape hatch” for the very wealthy.
As Gizmodo reports, Elon Musk has stated that for those who would like to venture to Mars one day, traveling to the planet with his SpaceX company will most likely cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is much less than one might think, and when giving a talk last year in Guadalajara, Mexico for the International Astronautical Congress, Musk asserted that it would be quite impossible to build a colony on Mars if SpaceX were to charge people extravagant sums of money to get there.
“You cannot create a self-sustaining civilization if the ticket price is $10 billion per person. If we can get the cost of moving to Mars to be roughly equivalent to a median house price in the United States, which is around $200,000, then I think the probability of establishing a self-sustaining civilization is very high. I think it would almost certainly occur.”
— Gizmodo (@Gizmodo) November 25, 2018
In the new HBO documentary, Elon Musk was very enthusiastic about the many advancements SpaceX have made with regard to their plans to visit and eventually colonize Mars, and Musk stated, “We’ve recently made a number of breakthroughs that I am just really fired up about.”
However, he is not overly fond of the suggestion that leaving Earth to begin a new life on Mars is an “escape hatch” for rich people. After all, as Musk noted, there is no guarantee that these space travelers and early colonizers of the planet will land successfully on Mars and, even assuming that they do, life will be full of difficult work setting up a base there without much time for leisure. There is also the distinct possibility that death will occur either in transit or once they have arrived at their destination.
“No, your probability of dying on Mars is much higher than Earth. Really, the ad for going to Mars would be like Shackleton’s ad for going to the Antarctic. It’s gonna be hard. There’s a good chance of death, going in a little can through deep space. You might land successfully, but once you land successfully, you’ll be working nonstop to build the base. So, you know, not much time for leisure. And once you get there, even after all this, it’s a very harsh environment, so there’s a good chance you die there. We think you can come back, but we’re not sure. Now, does that sound like an escape hatch for rich people?”
Despite all of this, Elon Musk would still travel to Mars himself and compared the challenge with climbing the formidable Mount Everest.
“You know, there’s lots of people who climb mountains. You know, who do they climb mountains? People die on Mount Everest all the time. They like doing it for the challenge.”
The new interview with Elon Musk discussing SpaceX’s plans to colonize Mars will be airing on HBO on Sunday, at 6:30 p.m. ET/PT.