Having found his earth-based inventions and investments somewhat constricting. not to mention cash-burning, at this moment Elon Musk is speaking at the 67th annual International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, an annual gathering of engineers and scientists devoted to tackling the grandiose and technical questions shaping the future of space exploration. Speakers this year also include NASA’s Scott Kelly, who spent a year at the International Space Station, and Buzz Aldrin, the second person to walk on the moon.
The event is most notable because for the first time, Musk will describe his long-anticipated plans for how to colonize Mars.
For those gathered today at the International Astronautical Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico, an animated video showing SpaceX's new rocket - known as "Big Falcon Rocket" - presented in the clip below, provides a sneak peek of this ambitious initiative.
It was not immediately clear how many trillions in taxpayer subsidies, or follow-on equity and convertible offering the project would require to be brought to completion, although we do salute Musk's vision.
* * *
Here are some of Musk's initial comments:
"What I really want to achieve here is make Mars seem possible," he says.
Musk says there are two fundamental paths for humanity: We stay on Earth forever until an eventual extinction event or we become a multi-planet species.
Musk says he wants to create a "self-sustaining city" on Mars.
Musk says using traditional methods to get to Mars would cost about $10 billion per person. Musk argues that if we can decrease the cost of going to Mars to around $200,000 per ticket, or about the average cost of a house in the US, more people would want to go.
Musk says that eventually there will be an extinction-level event on Earth. (Surely he means, beyond the "sixth extinction" that humans are currently bringing about.) But Mars is just as likely to be hit by an asteroid, proportional to its size. And when the Sun engulfs the Earth, Mars won't be far behind.
"Early Mars was a lot like Earth," Musk says, comparing the two planets. "It's a little cold, but we could warm it up."
Musk says it would be "quite fun" to be on Mars, since it has 62.5% less gravity than Earth, which would allow humans to lift heavy things.
Musk has been successful is in the way he characterizes huge problems and the ability to address them. Need an atmosphere? Yes, we can adjust that. Need it warmer? We can warm the planet, just like we have Earth.
And so on.
* * *