Elon Musk has stressed that humans must become a ‘multi-planet species’ before the sun engulfs the Earth, though luckily we have some time to figure things out before then.
The SpaceX CEO didn’t bother attempting to paint an optimistic view of the future of humanity when he appeared on the New York Times podcast Sway this week, instead getting straight to the point and making clear that the end is inevitable.
Speaking to host Kara Swisher, Musk said he wasn’t trying to be ‘doom and gloom,’ but pointed out that ‘there have been many extinction events over the millennia.’
As cited by KABC, he continued:
These [extinction events] are from meteors, from super volcanoes, from just natural climate variation, which does become very severe but at a pace that would seem slow to us. And then eventually the Sun’s going to expand and engulf Earth.
This is for sure going to happen.
To help humans survive past this inevitable engulfing, Musk says humanity needs to become a ‘multi-planet species in a space faring civilisation’.
The billionaire entrepreneur hopes to help make this happen with SpaceX’s massive Starship rocket, which has been undergoing tests and construction at the firm’s Boca Chica facility in Texas.
Starship is set to be a reusable rocket, which Musk hopes will be safe for human use within the next few years. To take one million people to Mars, SpaceX would apparently need to produce 1,000 Starship rockets over a nine-year period.
Discussing the rocket, Musk said:
I think we will launch Starship sometime next year, close to August. We will run it in automatic mode, without people. I think it will be safe for people in two years, but definitely three years.
We are able to lower the cost to space, so we are saving the tax payer a lot of money. We’re advancing technology of launch by having reusable rockets. Reusability is very important for the access to space.
Though SpaceX is a few years away from being ready to provide transport for all, Musk has made clear that the sun won’t devour Earth ‘anytime soon’.
Scientists agree the event will eventually take place, but they estimate we have a good six billion years left before the sun finally comes for us.
While Musk believes humanity should focus on a move to Mars, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who also owns aerospace company Blue Origin, thinks space stations are the way forward.
Musk told Swisher:
But whatever, if you have advanced rockets you can decide whether you want to live on a space station thing or live on Mars. So, right now we’ve got a long way to go. Because we can’t even get back to the moon.
The CEO admitted he was worried humans are ‘slowing down on our rate of improvement’ as we want to ‘make sure civilization is improving over time’, but he acknowledged the significance of having created a ‘fully reusable orbital rocket.’
Here’s hoping we get things sorted before our six billion years runs out.
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