Elon Musk wants to send one million people to Mars

Elon Musk in 2013
Elon Musk in 2013

Elon Musk (photo ©Dan Taylor / Heisenberg Media) has already spoken several times of his plans to create a colony on Mars, even in recent months. A few days ago, an interview was published on Aeon Magazine where he spoke with Ross Andersen. The man who inspired Iron Man showed a really long-term plan arguing that we need to send a million people to the red planet to ensure a future for humanity.

When someone talks about colonies on Mars, many people think they should write a science fiction story but there is someone who thinks about it very seriously. In 2002, Elon Musk was considered crazy even by his friends when he decided to open a space transport company. Ten years later, that company, SpaceX, was the first to send a private spacecraft to the International Space Station.

The point is that if you don’t taking seriously an Elon Musk project you might be short-sighted. We’re talking about a man who became a billionaire having great achievements in the field of computer science, in particular by developing the services of PayPal and then selling the company to eBay, now has satellites launches booked for some years and contracts with NASA and is developing enormously the market for electric cars.

The project of a Martian colony is long-term. According to Elon Musk it’s expected to start in 2020 to be developed over time sending settlers and he stated that one day he’d like to move to the red planet. In the past, he spoke of a colony of 80,000 people but perhaps they are few for a man like him, who has widely showed to have a very broad vision of the future. In his interview with Aeon Magazine in fact he talked about a colony of a million people.

Elon Musk is the first who understands the problems to be solved, first of all technology, in order to create a colony on Mars. A million people require resources to carry with them, maybe even ten trips to send cargos to Mars for each trip to transport settlers.

Even finding ways to exploit the raw materials on Mars, the effort and costs would be really enormous and should continue for many years. However, Elon Musk pointed out that the technological advances that occurred in recent decades have been huge and if they go on like that in his opinion in 2040 we should already be able to have a colony on Mars, perhaps with thousands of people.

Life in a colony on Mars won’t be easy, at least initially. Will technology allow to make it less hard? To get an idea of the potential progress in the coming decades is really hard but for Elon Musk the survival of humanity is at stake. Remaining confined to Earth exposes us to potential pandemics of Ebola or other diseases even worse and to disasters such as an asteroid impact or a supervolcano explosion.

Elon Musk also looks further away than Mars. The technologies needed to develop a colony on the red planet will allow mankind to expand throughout the solar system. Potentially, there are resources to accommodate trillions of human beings.

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