We have the dreamers to thank for some of the world’s greatest inventions and innovations, and Elon Musk is one of them. One of his major goals is to travel to Mars, but will he be able to do so in his lifetime?
The 47-year-old recently chatted with the Axios on HBO documentary series and confidently said that there’s a “70 percent” chance he’ll make it to Mars. He credits a “recent number of breakthroughs” that he’s “really fired up about” for making it possible. He also explained that it will be a one-way trip and he anticipates moving there.
When asked whether a trip to the red planet would be an “escape hatch for the rich,” the SpaceX founder compared an advertisement for travelling to Mars like “Shackleton’s ad for going to the Antarctic”–an adventure that would be life-changing.
“It’s going to be hard,” he noted. “There’s a good chance of death. Going in a little can through deep space…you might land successfully.”
He added that if the landing is successful, building a life on Mars will be very difficult in a harsh environment with very little leisure time.
“We think you can come back, but we’re not sure,” he said. “Now does that sound like an escape hatch for rich people?”
When asked if he would go to Mars without hesitation, Musk compared it to people who climb Mount Everest—even though a lot of people die there they still want to do it because it’s a challenge.
There has a been a lot of progress in recent years on making Mars habitable for extended periods of time, but it’s still unclear when people will be able to make a trip there. Musk plans to have humans on the planet by 2024—less than six years away.
Meanwhile, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson recently talked to CNBC about today’s biggest tech giants and said Musk will leave a bigger footprint than Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg because of his impact on civilization.
“What Elon Musk is doing is not simply giving us the next app that will be awesome on our smartphone,” deGrasse Tyson explained. “No, he is thinking about society, culture, how we interact, what forces need to be in play to take civilization into the next century.”
deGrasse Tyson noted that space colonization will have a huge impact on civilization “because there are unlimited resources in space; resources that, on Earth, we fight wars over.”
He added, “In space, you don’t need to fight a war, just go to another asteroid and get your resources. A whole category of war has the potential of evaporating entirely with the exploitation of space resources, which includes unlimited access to energy as well.”
As a result, Musk will impact people’s lives much more than his technological contemporaries: “[H]e will transform civilization as we know it,” deGrasse Tyson said.