Video: Elon Musk Describes Vision for a Human Civilization


Video Caption:
Elon Musk has never been one to keep his long-term plans to himself. Beyond the development of reusable rockets, electric cars, and revolutionizing solar power, he has also been quite vocal about establishing a colony on Mars within his lifetime. The goal here is nothing less than ensuring the survival of the human race by creating a “backup location”, and calls for some serious planning and architecture.

These and other aspects of Musk’s proposed mission to Mars were outlined in an essay titled “Making Humans a Multi-Planetary Species“, which was published in the June 2017 issue of the journal New Space. The paper is a summary of the presentation he made at the 67th Annual Meeting of the International Astronautical Congress, which took place from September 26th–30th, 2016, in Guadalajara, Mexico.

The paper was produced by Scott Hubbard, a consulting professor at Stanford University and the Editor-in-Chief of NewSpace, and includes all the material and slides from Musk’s original presentation. Contained within are Musk’s thoughts on how the colonization of Mars could be accomplished in this century and what issues would need to be addressed.

  • Obediah Headstrong

    A colony on Mars eventually will consist of giants tending giant crops.They will not be able to return to Earth to visit family, all because of lower gravity which on Mars is about one-third of that on Earth. Creepy, but fascinating.

  • Paul451

    Speaking of visions, Doug, is it time for a new sidebar poll? I don’t think you’re going to get closer to a three-way-tie in the current poll than what you have now.

  • There wasn’t very much information there re: his view of a Martian civilization. The direct democracy ideas were interesting. But not much more.

  • Douglas Messier

    Done. Enjoy!

  • Douglas Messier

    He’s got it in his head that he’s building a cosmic version of the Transcontinental Railroad. Elon thinks that California was like Mars — empty, or nearly so — and that the railroad was built to fill it with people. Yes and no. Actually, the land the railroad passed through was largely devoid of people (Americans settlers from the East, anyway) and it took the railroad and massive giveaways of land to the railroad companies and the homesteaders through the Homestead Act to help fill it.

    The fact is that the infrastructure on Mars needed to support the numbers that he wants to send there will be enormously expensive. You’re building new cities in the middle of the harshest environment people will have ever lived in. Just keeping them alive and thriving will be an immense challenge. If Elon can make money getting people there and leave all the other costs to someone else, that would be just fine for him.

    The problem is who actually pays for the rest of the plan. And does he have any compelling reasons for them to do so. Adventure and backing up humanity in case of a catastrophe on Earth might not do that.

  • Paul451

    Nothing in-between absolute flawless success and utter devastating failure?

    What would Musk pick? Since he apparently expects it to get off the pad but explode in mid-air due to weird vibration and aerodynamic effects which can’t be simulated by hold-down tests.

  • Vladislaw

    Douglas Messier wrote: “and massive giveaways of land ”

    That is it in a nutshell. Property rights and the ability for the government to give away land. I just do not see anything really big happen until we have a Gen. Custer. He traveled on land not owned by the government and shouted “GOLD”

  • Vladislaw

    lol .. that was my first thought .. an either or conditional

  • redneck

    I would vote for less than full success as well. As it is, neither.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Really, its all academic until science is sure that Mars has no life on it. Until then there is no chance that he will get the licenses he will need to reach Mars.

  • Terry Rawnsley

    And we all know what happened to him. 🙂

  • ThomasLMatula

    So you think its acceptable to take the land from the Martians like we did from the native Americans, even if they are only micro-organisms? I would think we would learn from history.

    But then that is what the Moon Treaty is all about, a handful of nations claiming ownership of all the resources of the Solar System. Its nothing more than a modern version of the Treaty of Tordesillas which was one excuse for the Falklands War.

  • therealdmt

    It would be even cooler if the giants were kind of praying mantis-shaped, but with bigger heads!

  • therealdmt

    The poll should be on the number of stages destroyed (ascent only for the upper stage)

  • Michael Vaicaitis

    “……even if they are only micro-organisms”
    Yes. There is perhaps a short-term scientific argument to be had, but I would be delighted to read your reasoning that compares single cells to (native) human societies.

  • ThomasLMatula

    What I am referring to is an existing philosophy called “deep ecology” developed first by Aldo Leopoldo in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Do a search and you find a lot of material on it.

  • Vladislaw

    Well if we are going in to conquer Mars then lets do that openly. But what we should not do is sign a treaty with the martian micro-organisms promising that it is their land forever. (or until we find a resource we want an then all bets are off)

  • ThomasLMatula

    So you are good with humans claiming control of the resources of Mars via the Moon Treaty? Isn’t it time to leave such European models of colonialism in the past?

  • Vladislaw

    I am a capitalist and until someone invents a better popsicle it is the best game in town and as long as you have the rule of law and property rights I have no problem with putting the 9 billion acre unclaimed asset of Luna and 25 billion acres of Mars recorded in humanities ledger books.

  • ThomasLMatula

    It’s impossible to be a Capitalist and advocate for the Moon Treaty. The two are just incompatible. There is already the rule of law in space, the OST, and the Chattel Property Rights it provides for are far better for business than the Moon Treaty. Just look at Luxembourg’s new law under it.

    If you were really interested in establishing resource property rights in space you would get Latvia to sign the OST and pass a similar law on space resources. It is the best game in town. You might even create new jobs in a new industry for your adopted homeland.

    Luxembourg has done well being a flag of convenience for comsats which is why they expanded in space resources. Why not Latvia?

  • Vladislaw

    I didn’t advocate for the moon treaty and I never have.