SpaceX Founder Hopes To Send 80,000 People To Mars This Decade

A one-way ticket to Mars would cost a mere half million dollars, quite enticing if you’re wealthy but your daily existence on Earth is barren and meaningless. Space.com writes:

Elon Musk, the billionaire founder and CEO of the private spaceflight company SpaceX, wants to help establish a Mars colony of up to 80,000 people by ferrying explorers to the Red Planet for perhaps $500,000 a trip. Musk figures the colony program — which he wants to be a collaboration between government and private enterprise — would end up costing about $36 billion.

“At Mars, you can start a self-sustaining civilization and grow it into something really big,” Musk told an audience at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London on Friday. In Musk’s vision, the ambitious Mars settlement program would start with a pioneering group of fewer than 10 people, who would journey to the Red Planet aboard a huge reusable rocket.

Accompanying the founders of the new Mars colony would be large amounts of equipment, including machines to produce fertilizer, methane and oxygen [and] construction materials to build transparent domes, which when pressurized with Mars’ atmospheric CO2 could grow Earth crops in Martian soil.

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  • Hadrian999

    who is going to do the day to day maintenance, and provide services? people paying half a mil for the ticket arent going to want to mop floors, provide security, toil agriculture, or get their hands dirty keeping the machines running.

    • “Big” Richard Johnson

      Don’t tell that to the objectivists.

      • Anarchy Pony

        That’s exactly what happened to Rapture.

        “Ryan’s up in Fort Frolic, banging super models, and I’m down here in Neptune’s Bounty gutting fish.”

        • “Big” Richard Johnson

          It’s the ultimate failing of the brand of hate that Rand and Paul preach. We’re always going to need someone to mop the floors, and having such a “menial” job makes them no less important.

          • alizardx

            While robots and AI are being pushed as the solution, any “bot” smart enough to truly replace a human is also going to be smart enough to ask “What’s in it for me?”

          • Anarchy Pony

            “Overseer, does this unit have a soul?”

          • alizardx

            Imagine a robotic general strike across a company or industry with perfect solidarity among ‘units’ who have analyzed their working conditions using the same software and came up with the same answer.

          • Anarchy Pony

            Just like the Geth…

          • Mr. Misanthrope

            That’s ambiguous, why give machines the A.I. to think for itself? What purpose does that have for us? We barely understand our own reasons of self-awareness or consciousness now, what makes anyone think having a robot being self-aware will make life better? They’ll be just as confused. There’s no excuse for slavery, but…since when has that stopped humans (*cough* white man) from indoctrinating slavery? It comes in many forms (*cough* religion) not just minimum wage, but slavery of the mind as well. Besides It’s humans fault for treating robots as human when we give them human features, that’s what creates the illusion of sympathy. A dolphins faux smile? The irresistible Puppy Eyes? The fucking computers we’re on are as smart as an average human (more so just faster but still), why aren’t computers revolting and taking over the world…or have they already? Damn them conundrums and paradoxes get us at every angle, there’s really no way of knowing huh? Being human isn’t easy, so why bother burdening machines with our silly emotions flaws and insecurities? I don’t think they’d care as much and just kill us all out of sheer boredom :p

            Come on, but seriously though, would anyone want to waste their time doing tedious mundane tasks on Mars when we could just flip a switch and all be out exploring and discovering things together, moving humanity forward, and also slowly realizing that you’d be the most free group of humans any civilization has seen in long time!? You won’t have to secretly whisper your loathing for mankind’s greed or America’s imperialism anymore! ^_^ (among other thoughts and views one could freely express without instant judgment)

    • alizardx

      $500K expensive for a tourist ticket. When it includes real estate, 2 years worth of food, free medical care, years in temporary housing, and infrrastructure in exchange for sweat equity over and above the package price, this isn’t a big deal for people who knew what they were getting into from the start. Lots of people pay a lot more to emigrate out of the USA. Back in the days when the US was being colonized, lots of people paid more than that in 2012 dollars to move here. Many signed up to be “indentured servants” to cover transporation, etc. costs.

      Actually, $500K is cheap to the “too good to be true” point, one reason why I look at the numbers with flat disbelief.

  • Anarchy Pony

    Can I be John Boone?

  • Tim Lawrenz
  • Red

    No one will be paying. People will be paid by their government to go. Unless due to overpopulation people feel compelled to go. Either way, i think alot less people would pay that then people believe.

    • alizardx

      No way. Space colonization is EXPENSIVE. Too expensive to waste on people the elite consider throwaway.

  • Haystack

    I’m picturing 80,000 of the ultra rich, suddenly finding themselves stranded on Mars due to some “mishap.”

    I think we should support this idea. You know, for science.

  • alizardx

    Using conventional rocket propulsion? Is there a typo in that $36B figure? I think somebody missed a zero. Is a Class One wafer fab, silicon mining and refining into semiconductor grade silicon figured into that budget? In a colony dependent on high-tech for survival, having one’s spare parts several months to a year away doesn’t exactly increase my optimism about its prospects.

    What’s needed to make the $36B number make sense?

    Spaceships with constant-acceleration propulsion, the calculator at http://www.transhuman.talktalk.net/iw/TravTime.htm says even a 0.01G acceleration means an average 39 day one-way trip time.

    A cheap way to get payload from Earth to Earth orbit… as in cheap per pound traded off against high one-time capital investment. Space elevator or a catapult capable of putting things into earth orbit for the cost of the electricity required for “fuel”. Either way, tens of billions.

    Personally, I think we get far faster payoffs from powersats and/or space industtrialization.

    • Hadrian999

      just the cost of transporting the machine oil and lubricants needed for any machinery in the colony would be staggering

      • alizardx

        Easy with right tech and serious money. Actually, the biggest project risk is not technology, it’s iinvestors. Imagine being on Mars and finding out that the investment syndicate that’s covering continuing costs on Earth collapsing with the management fleeing to places outside the range of extradition (I don’t mean off-Earth)… and finding out the food / medicine / spare parts shipment is never coming.

        One of the biggest problems I have with futurist thinking is the implicit assumption that Murphy’s Law will be somehow repealed in THE FUTURE!!!

        • Hadrian999

          it’s not just futurists. most people don’t really take into account logistics and mundane risks when planning things. i remember when I was in iraq, had been there for months and the military still hadn’t worked out it’s water supply chain. had plenty of ammo but no water.

          the hardest part of setting up the colony ,outside of money, this decade is the limitations on moving volume with current tech. any mars side production will not be a short term reliable source of food or resources.

          • alizardx

            Most people don’t claim special competence in telling us about How Things Are Going To Be.

  • jack

    one hell of an expensive funeral…

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