Musk eyes a move to Mars

The Press - - Drive -

De­spite a high like­li­hood of dy­ing even be­fore ar­riv­ing and daily con­di­tions hos­tile to hu­man life, Elon Musk said in a re­cent in­ter­view that he’ll prob­a­bly move to Mars.

The SpaceX and for­mer Tesla chief ex­ec­u­tive said there’s a ‘‘70 per cent chance’’ he’ll get to Mars within his life­time, with plans to per­ma­nently re­set­tle on the Red Planet. Musk said his de­sire to colonise Mars is driven by the same pas­sion that fu­els peo­ple to climb moun­tains – for the chal­lenge.

‘‘We’ve re­cently made a num­ber of break­throughs that I am just re­ally fired up about,’’ Musk said dur­ing an in­ter­view with Ax­ios on HBO.

Musk’s re­marks are the lat­est in a se­ries of bold an­nounce­ments that have de­fined his ca­reer in re­cent years, from his aim to trans­form the auto in­dus­try with elec­tric ve­hi­cles made by his com­pany Tesla to the goal of colonis­ing Earth’s neigh­bour­ing planet.

SpaceX as­pires to send its first cargo mis­sion to Mars in 2022, its web­site says, with a manned mis­sion tar­geted for 2024. Musk an­nounced last week that the com­pany has re­named its mas­sive Mars ves­sel the Star­ship (pre­vi­ously the Big Fal­con Rocket). The rocket boost­ers that will al­low the ve­hi­cle to es­cape Earth’s grav­ity are called the Su­per Heavy.

Dur­ing the in­ter­view, Musk com­pared the propo­si­tion to colonise Mars to ex­plorer Ernest Shack­le­ton’s ex­pe­di­tions to Antarc­tica.

He said the price of a ticket to Mars would be hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars, with no guar­an­tee of re­turn or even sur­vival dur­ing the trip or upon land­ing. But de­spite the daunt­ing jour­ney, Musk sees a worth­while trade-off.

‘‘You know there’s lots of peo­ple who climb moun­tains. You know why they climb moun­tains? Peo­ple die on Mount Ever­est all the time,’’ he said.

‘‘They like do­ing it for the chal­lenge.’’

Ear­lier this year, SpaceX pledged to ad­vance its space ex­plo­ration ef­forts by re­veal­ing the iden­tity of its first pay­ing tourist who would take a trip around the moon.

In 2023, Ja­panese bil­lion­aire Yusaku Maezawa and six to eight artists are ten­ta­tively sched­uled to fly to the moon on a week-long trip.

Their ve­hi­cle, the nearly 400-foot-tall Star­ship, is still in devel­op­ment and is slated to com­plete its first flights to or­bit in two to three years.

– The Wash­ing­ton Post

Ear­lier this year Elon Musk fired a Tesla into space. Now he wants to go him­self.

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