Monday, April 26, 2021

“A Bunch of People Will Die” Going to Mars, Elon Musk Says

 There’s been a lot of talk about how SpaceX will be sending the first manned mission to Mars by 2025, or 2026 at the latest, and how this would pave the way to colonizing the planet. Humanity needs to become a multi-planetary species, CEO Elon Musk believes, but it will come at a cost.

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That cost will be the loss of human life above everything else. Not that this should surprise anyone, but these missions will be high on danger because of the length of the journey, the harsh and unknown environment, the radiation, and the impact extended isolation will have on the psyche. Death is an ever-present possibility.

Or, as Musk himself says in a recent chat with Peter Diamandis, founder of the X Prize Foundation, “a bunch of people will probably die in the beginning.” The chat took place on April 22, which was Earth Day, and focused mostly on what man needs to do to cut down on carbon emissions before it’s too late. Musk took part in it because of his vested interest in the topic, and he discussed the Mars missions only in reference to how rockets have very high carbon footprints.

The space-related bit starts at around the 8.38-minute mark in the video below.

Never the one to beat around the bush, Musk admits right from the start that sending a manned mission to the Red Planet is inherently dangerous. “Going to Mars reads like that advert for Shackleton going to the Antarctic,” he says. “You know it is dangerous. It’s uncomfortable, and it’s a long journey. You might not come back alive, but it is a glorious adventure and it will be an amazing experience... Yeah, honestly, a bunch of people will probably die in the beginning.”

Still, it will be a “glorious adventure.” He says everyone involved understands that, adding that millions are willing to do it and that SpaceX is not “forcing anyone.”

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