Civilization on planet Earth is “looking a little rickety right now“, according to Elon Musk who has revealed plans to build a city on Mars that is self-sustaining and not dependent on links to Earth for its survival.
Speaking at the Mars Society’s annual conference, the SpaceX founder said the project to develop a Martian civilization is already underway and needs to be complete before a “cataclysmic event” occurs on Earth.
Musk said: “Civilization’s not looking super strong, it’s looking a little rickety right now.”
Establishing self-sufficiency would be the ultimate goal for any human colonization of Mars.
“It’s helpful to have as the objective the creation of a self-sustaining city on Mars… Not simply a few people or a base, but a self-sustaining city,” he said.
“The acid test really is, if the ships from Earth stop coming for any reason, does Mars die out?
“If it does, then we’re not in a secure place.”
Musk said the “cataclysmic event” on Earth could occur from a number of different scenarios, and gave examples of a comet hitting the planet, the eruption of a supervolcano or even “nuclear Armageddon.”
“This really might come down to: Are we going to create a self-sustaining city on Mars before or after World War 3? And I think the probability of it being created after World War 3 – hopefully there’s never a World War 3 – but the probability of after is low, so we should try and make the city self-sustaining before any possible World War 3.”
Independent report: Musk founded SpaceX with the ultimate mission to make humanity a multi-planetary species, and has frequently spoken of his desire to travel there during his lifetime.
The space craft being developed for this purpose is Starship, which has already performed multiple flight and landing tests at the firm’s Texas base.
When asked when Starship’s first trip to Mars might be, Musk said a non-crewed mission could take place as early as 2024.
Earlier this year, Musk made the Starship spacecraft SpaceX’s “top priority”, after voicing concerns that current progress of space technology was insufficient to fulfil his goal of being among the first visitors to Mars.
“This is really about minimising existential risk for civilisation as a whole, and then having an exciting future that you can look forward to,” he said.
“A future where we are a space-faring civilisation and a multi-planetary species is far more exciting than one where we are not.”
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