In an interview with Peter Diamandis, founder and president of the X Prize Foundation, Elon Musk discussed the risks inherent in future journeys to Mars. Some, he confirmed, will likely die early.
It will have escaped no one that SpaceX wants to take people to Mars. It is this ambition which, in 2002, motivated the creation of this company. Since then, SpaceX has come a long way, revolutionizing the aerospace industry with the reuse of its boosters.
Society is now preparing to take a new step, and not less so: to transform man into a multiplanetary species. SpaceX, which will be responsible for delivering the next humans to the Moon as early as 2024, would like to send its first crews to the Red Planet in a few years, probably in the second half of the decade.
There will be deaths
Musk recently revisited these Martian ambitions in a lengthy interview with the founder and chairman of the X Prize Foundation, Peter Diamandis, who is also an engineer and doctor. Asked about the risks inherent in these trips to settle in a world for which our body is absolutely not prepared, the boss of SpaceX was very frank.
“Honestly, a bunch of people will probably die early (…). It’s dangerous, it’s uncomfortable, it’s a long journey. You might not indeed come back alive“. This is why the company, when the day comes, will only call on volunteers.
This is not the first time that the chief engineer of SpaceX evokes the probable disappearance of future astronauts bound for Mars. As early as 2017, Musk had indeed declared during the International Astronautical Congress that the first humans to visit Mars should be “ready to die“.
Musk in particular drew a parallel with the “classifieds” offered by explorer Ernest Shackleton who, before going to Antarctica, was looking for men.for a dangerous journey ”.
The future of man is not on Earth
It should be remembered, however, that the context surrounding Musk’s statements has changed a lot. Compared to 2017, SpaceX has made huge strides in human spaceflight, now offering flights to the ISS for NASA. This is a first major step that will one day make it possible to materialize the arrival of humans on Mars. The Artemis program, under which SpaceX will have to drop humans on the Moon, will be another important milestone to overcome.
That being said, some might wonder about the interests of such a potentially deadly project. The answer is simple. As he recalled in this interview, Musk is convinced that the destiny of humans is to become a multiplanetary species. Sooner or later, he thinks, we will indeed be faced with a catastrophe that could threaten the human race. When that day comes, the possibility of being able to live elsewhere will no longer be optional, but necessary.