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Elon Musk has been threatening to move to to Mars for a while now, but for the first time he’s actually attached a number to the probability of him making the leap – in an interview for documentary series Axios on HBO, he said there is a “70% chance” he will move to Mars.
He also rejected claims that Mars could become an “escape hatch” for the rich when the Earth’s resources are depleted or global warming makes the planet near uninhabitable, saying that early missions would be incredibly dangerous, likening it to climbing Mount Everest.
Musk’s space exploration company SpaceX is in the midst of developing its latest spacecraft, called the Starship and formerly known as the Big Falcon Rocket, with a view to establish bases on the Moon and Mars in the future.
Life on Mars
Although the colonization of Mars may seem like something of a pipe dream right now, we are in reality, far closer to sending the first person to the red planet than you may have imagined.
Speaking to USA Today in June, NASA’s chief scientist Jim Green said that the first Martian explorer is likely alive today, and that life on Mars could offer humanity a “brand new life with brand new vistas”.
However, there are a number of obstacles we must overcome before we can even consider colonizing Mars, including how to land a one ton vehicle on its surface – and if the first humans ever want to return to Earth, how to blast off.
As well as that, there are enormous dust storms to contend with, and an unfortunate lack of oxygen in the atmosphere that would make walking around without space helmets on impossible – unless we work out how to engineer our own atmosphere.
Whether NASA or SpaceX get there first remains to be seen – but if Musk is really to move to Mars, he will need to work out the kinks pretty quickly.