Humanity will go to Mars 'in this decade,' SpaceX president predicts

Dec 9, 2020
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Personal opinion: colonizing Mars is foolhardy, and probably lethal for humans. However, if scientists, corporate types and governments are "damned and determined" to put humans on Mars, OK, so be it until they run out of the taxpayers' money. To that end, "I have a little list of society's offenders, none of whom would be missed"; perfect candidates to be sent to Mars.
 
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I don't think even Musk thinks that we will be ready to colonize Mars in just 2 more years. I doubt that we will be able to even put human footprints on Mars in that short time.

However, putting humans on the surface of Mars and returning them safely to Earth seems doable by the end of this decade, but only if it gets uninterrupted high priority to do so. We have the technology, but have not yet developed the needed systems and tuned them for the appropriate level of reliability to transport humans.

Regarding colonization: We have not tested the technologies, or even the strategies for "living off the land" that would be needed to live in what is essentially a dead land. I would strongly suggest that we test those on the moon, before committing to have people try to survive by them on Mars. The moon is only a few days away, while Mars is at least many months away. So, rescue or resupply missions are far more feasible to perform in a timely manner when something goes wrong on the moon, compared to Mars. And, planning for success only if nothing goes wrong would be unethically suicidal.

Some of the billionaires with plans to colonize places off-earth seem to be driven by the thought that humans may make the Earth uninhabitable in the not-so-distant future. I hope they are wrong, but I do see multiple possibilities for that happening.

It would be nice if people could put much more effort into solving the problems that threaten the habitability of Earth. But, it is logical to question whether the whole human species can be convinced by logic and data to change our ways sufficiently to achieve that.

Part of the "off-Earth colonization" strategy may be based on the thinking that a survivable human sub-population might be chosen based on their attitudes regarding important issues needed to ensure long-term survival when off-Earth. But, I don't get any chance to discuss these things over a beer with Elon M. or Jeff B., so I am just musing, here.
 
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Jan 11, 2020
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No, we won’t. I bet my brother a few years ago that we will set foot on Mars before 2040 and I am having serious doubts about that. There is just not enough funding to make speedy progress.
And no, China will not beat us to Mars.
 

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