ELON Musk has warned that humanity may wipe itself out before his aerospace company SpaceX has a chance to colonise Mars.
In an interview on Monday, the billionaire warned that we face imminent threats of extinction from supervolcanoes, comet strikes or a “giant war”.
Elon Musk has warned that humanity faces imminent threats of extinction from supervolcanoes, comet strikes or a “giant war”Credit: AP:Associated Press
If World War 3 were to break out, there is a “low” chance of building a self-sustaining city on Mars afterwards, he added.
The Tesla CEO, 49, described his long-standing plans to colonise the Red Planet by 2050 using rockets built by SpaceX as a “great adventure”,
Speaking at the 2020 Mars Society Virtual Convention, he said: “I think it’s helpful to have as the objective the creation of a self-sustaining city on Mars.
“This has to be the objective, not simply a few people or a base, but a self-sustaining city.”
Musk wants to set up a self-sustaining city on the Red PlanetCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Musk has stated on numerous occasions that humanity must colonise Mars and become an “interplanetary species” to save itself from extinction.
He has previously listed nuclear warfare, killer robots and even the incineration of Earth as it is engulfed by the Sun as threats to our species.
Speaking on Monday, the South African highlighted that one of the biggest challenges facing a Martian colony is whether or not it could survive if Earth were to stop sending supplies.
“The acid test really is if the ships from Earth stop coming for any reason, does Mars die out?” Musk said during the live-streamed interview.
SpaceX has launched dozens of rockets since it was founded by Musk in 2002, and completed its first crewed flight in MayCredit: Alamy Live News
“Are we going to be able to create a self-sustaining city on Mars before or after World War 3?”
He continued: “Hopefully there is never a World War 3, but the probability of launching after World War 3 are low.
“We should try to make this city self-sustaining before any possible World War 3.”
Musk, who founded California-based SpaceX in 2002, hinted that the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the fragility of civilisation.
Who is Elon Musk?
Here’s what you need to know…
Controversial billionaire Elon Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa in 1971.
As a 12-year-old child he taught himself computer programming and sold the code of a video game to a PC magazine for $500 (£300).
At 17, he moved to Canada to study, before gaining two degrees in physics and business at the University of Pennsylvania.
At the age of 24 he moved to California to start a Ph.D. in applied physics and material science at Stanford University – but left the programme after just two days to pursue other projects.
Now 49, he is the founder and CEO of SpaceX, co-founder, CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors, co-founder and chairman of SolarCity, co-chairman of Opan AI, co-founder of Zip2 and founder of X.com, which merged with PayPal.
He’s also working on a human brain chip project called Neuralink.
Musk’s stated aim is to reduce global warming and save humans from extinction by setting up a colony on Mars.
The billionaire inventor is also working on the world’s largest lithium-ion battery to store renewable energy.
“Really we just face a series of probabilities,” he said.
“There’s some chance we could have a giant war, a supervolcano, or a comet-strike – or we might just self-extinguish.
“Quite frankly, right now, civilisation’s not looking super strong, you know, we’re looking a little rickety right now.”
Musk has previously expressed a desire to set up a city on the Red Planet by 2050.
The billionaire hopes to send one million people to Mars during his lifetime using a 1,000-strong fleet of SpaceX’s powerful new rocket, Starship.
Starship is still in the early stages of development, with SpaceX hoping to send up an unmanned prototype on its first spaceflight later this year.
In a series of tweets last year, Musk outlined how his Mars plans would open up space travel to anyone, regardless of their income.
“Needs to be such that anyone can go if they want, with loans available for those who don’t have money,” he wrote.
What is SpaceX?
Here’s what you need to know…
SpaceX is a cash-flushed rocket company that wants to take man to Mars.
It was set up by eccentric billionaire Elon Musk in 2002 and is based in Hawthorne, California.
SpaceX’s first aim was to build rockets that can autonomously land back on Earth for refurbishment and re-use.
The technology makes launching and operating space flights more efficient, and therefore cheaper.
SpaceX currently uses its reusable Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets to fly cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) for Nasa.
It also carries satellites and other space tech into orbit for various government agencies and multinational companies.
The company took astronauts to the ISS for the first time in 2020.
Other future missions involve carrying tourists to the ISS and astronauts to the Moon and Mars.
Musk has repeatedly said he believes humanity must colonise Mars to save itself from extinction.
He plans to get a SpaceX rocket to the Red Planet by 2027.
Musk’s plan involves building an expansive fleet of Starship vehicles, which comprise a huge rocket topped by a bullet-shaped spacecraft.
SpaceX says reusable rockets that can land and take off again make space travel more cost effective, accessible and sustainable.
However, the team has a long way to go before they can conduct Starship’s first manned flight.
Musk is targeting a Mars cargo missions by 2022 and a manned flight to the Red Planet within the next few years.
In other news, SpaceX completed its second successful Starship booster test flight in Setpember.
Musk wants to send humans to Mars as early as 2024 aboard one of the huge rockets.
And, Nasa set a hillside on fire during a recent test of the “most powerful rocket ever built”.
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