Elon Musk might move to Mars

The SpaceX founder thinks he has a 70% chance of survival

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Every time Elon Musk announces something you have to take it with a pinch of salt — has the Tesla and SpaceX founder actually had another breakthrough, or does he just really need attention?

His latest piece of “what are you talking about?” is that he is extremely serious about visiting Mars very soon. In a recent interview on HBO, he laid out his Martian dreams regarding the feasibility of SpaceX trafficking passengers there soon.

Musk believes SpaceX is only seven years away from offering tickets to the planet, positing a possible price per seat of “a couple hundred thousand dollars”. The last private customer who bought a ticket on a Musk trip is still waiting, however, so who knows whether seven years is an accurate estimate. Of course, Musk will be among the first to go.

For such a pricey ticket, Musk isn’t very confident the travellers will survive. He gave a 70% survival rate for the inhabitants of the “little can [travelling] through deep space”. Even on Mars, he’s not sure how likely it is anyone will survive the planet’s “very harsh environment”. He suggests the plan of action is to build a base as fast as possible in order to survive — obviously he’s a big fan of The Martian.

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The trip probably wouldn’t be a return one either, as Musk said “We think you can come back, but we’re not sure.” Traditionally, space travellers have liked some semblance of certainty for their survival, and Musk’s comment seems more like a noncommittal shrug than a pledge to safe space travel.

This isn’t the first time Musk has expressed his desire to visit Mars. In 2016 Musk expressed his fears of World War Three, and suggested humans should head to Mars to escape it. The Tesla Roadster he launched into space is currently floating past the red planet, so it’s clear he knows the direction.

While space travel is an exciting new venture that humanity should embrace, it’s easy to question Musk’s intentions once he refers to his voyage as an “escape hatch for rich people”. Is that an escape from war and global warming, or global consumers who will inevitably up against tech billionaires who misuse personal data and create unstoppable scary monopolies?

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