Musk says people will likely die on Mars
Alliance Patrick Pleul / photo via Getty Images
- Elon Musk believes the first inhabitants of Mars will be explorers, not wealthy dilettants.
- Musk says the colonists of Mars set out on a journey filled with survival and resource management.
- Musk is named after Ernest Shackleton, a famous (and not rich) explorer of Antarctica.
Last year, Elon Musk caused a stir when he said something provocative, but ultimately correct: There is a “good chance” that the first settlers of Mars will die. Now SpaceX’s brain, which is determined to colonize the Red Planet, doubles that feeling.
In a recent livestream touting his $ 100 million XPrize award to anyone who can understand carbon elimination, Musk dispelled the idea that the initial trip to Mars will be “an escape route for the rich.”
“Going to Mars reads like this announcement for Shackleton going to Antarctica. You know, it’s dangerous, it’s uncomfortable, it’s a long trip, you might not come back alive. But it’s a glorious adventure, and it will be an amazing experience.
You probably won’t have good food. If a strenuous and dangerous journey where you might not come back alive – but it’s a glorious adventure – sounds appealing, Mars is the place to be. This is the announcement. This is the commercial for Mars. Honestly, a bunch of people will probably die early on. It’s hard to sled there. We’re not going to send anyone away. They are only volunteers.
Of course, the rich and the explorers are not two mutually exclusive groups. Deep-pocketed daredevils like James Cameron, for example, have made exploration dangerous their business, as generational wealth often goes hand in hand with funding such expeditions.
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In his comments, Musk referred to Sir Ernest Shackleton, who led the first attempt at the transantarctic crossing in 1914. Shackleton was highly decorated and honored during his lifetime, but he was certainly not rich, at least not for long. . He came from a working class family and generally tried to accumulate wealth in one way or another, whether by making risky business investments or spending all of his money on expeditions.
The key to surviving the desperate conditions that awaited the first Martian settlers is not to have money – it is to balance their response to foreseeable events (limited water, no atmosphere, radiation) and to develop resilience in the face of unpredictable events, Jennifer Buz, Ph.D., an archaeologist at Northern Arizona University, said Pop Mecha Last year.
“You can plan a lot of things,” said Buz, “so you can kind of extend your life to a certain extent, but there will always be something that isn’t fully explained.”
Mars settlers will likely have to live in underground caves and carefully monitor and distribute all necessary resources – certainly no room for anyone’s economic status to make a difference. Even the popular “First city of Mars” the plans focus on the per person cost of buying uniform accommodation and travel, not an optional saving in luxuries once you’re there.
This Musk called Mars “difficult sled” speaks directly to the journeys of Shackleton and other Antarctic explorers through the ice on sleds or sleds. No Mars won’t literally involve sleds, but we’ll have to transport all the resources we need to the Red Planet, then to sheltered human settlements, and then with all waste.
In fact, our lives on Mars will have to be part of one of the most closed circular systems ever designed, the opposite of how Earth’s economies are often stratified and unfair. Musk’s urge to go to Mars is due in part to how previous generations of explorers colonized and exploited resources around the world.
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