Elon Musk Lays Out His Vision for Colonizing Mars

Elon Musk, the futurist visionary behind SpaceX, is racing a technological clock as he looks to put the first man on Mars within the next decade.

In a conversation with GQ’s Chris Heath, Musk outlines sweeping changes to humanity’s existence and how he’d like to be involved. Foremost among those ideas is the terraforming and colonization of Mars.

To date, SpaceX has made some jaw-dropping achievements, but even from the time of its conception the rocket company’s sole purpose was to colonize the Red Planet. With what he sees as true potential for calamity, man-made or natural, to wipe out life on Earth, Musk thinks it prudent to create a “back up [of] life”, as well as an alternative location for humankind to survive.

The rocket Musk and his team are currently working on — internally referred to as BFR, or “Big F**king Rocket” — is composed of a booster rocket and a spaceship. It’s a term that Musk intentionally pulled straight from 1993 video game Doom and echoes the futurist’s unabashed enthusiasm for extra-terrestrial human existence.

After the BFR delivers the proposed first manned mission to Mars, SpaceX will have already revealed their concept for a Mars colony that Musk anticipates people will think is “pretty crazy.” As far as he’s aware, “there’s not been any architecture like this described” in terms of sheer size and scope.

But Musk is just as concerned about the conditions for these advancements. He believes there is a window of time to accomplish these projects before global conflict and conditions turn our technology inward once again. He references 1912, when people were predicting a new age of peace and prosperity, but which was immediately followed by two World Wars. He believes that future conflicts could cripple these grandiose projects.

Whether it’s the deployment of fusion bombs at Mars’ poles to help terraform to planet into something livable, or inventing a proper autopiloted car “by Thursday,” Elon Musk doesn’t lack for ideas. Time will tell whether they can be more than that, but I’m intrigued enough to want to find out.

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