Elon Musk is considering moving to Mars, and gives himself a 70% chance of doing so.
“I know exactly what to do,” the billionaire Tesla founder told Axios on HBO, in an interview to be broadcast on Sunday night. “I’m talking about moving there.”
He also implied that such a move might be permanent, saying: “We think you can come back but we’re not sure.”
The Axios website trailed the interview a day before the scheduled Mars landing of the Insight spacecraft. According to the Associated Press, the Nasa vehicle will use “a mechanical mole to tunnel 16ft deep to measure internal heat, and a seismometer to register quakes, meteorite strikes and anything else that might start the red planet shaking”.
Contrary to the thoughts of experts including Bill Nye the Science Guy, the South African-born businessman said he thought such a flight could be possible seven years from now, with tickets costing “around a couple hundred thousand dollars”.
“Your probability of dying on Mars is much higher than on Earth,” he said, adding: “It’s gonna be hard. There’s a good chance of death, going in a little can through deep space.”
Should he succeed in landing on Mars, he expects to work “nonstop to build the base”. There will, he said, be “not much time for leisure. And even after doing all this, it’s a very harsh environment. So … there’s a good chance you die there. We think you can come back but we’re not sure. Now, does that sound like an escape hatch for rich people?”
Musk also said he thought “the ad for going to Mars would be like Shackleton’s ad for going to the Antarctic”.
While preparing for his expedition to the South Pole, which began in 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton is supposed to have placed an advertisement in the Times of London that read: “Men wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honour and recognition in case of success.”