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Elon Musk: I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the go-to-mars dept.

Mars 275

An anonymous reader writes Elon Musk says that he'll put the first human boots on Mars well before the 2020s are over. "I'm hopeful that the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years, I think it's certainly possible for that to occur," he said. "But the thing that matters long term is to have a self-sustaining city on Mars, to make life multiplanetary." He acknowledged that the company's plans were too long-term to attract many hedge fund managers, which makes it hard for SpaceX to go public anytime soon. "We need to get where things a steady and predictable," Musk said. "Maybe we're close to developing the Mars vehicle, or ideally we've flown it a few times, then I think going public would make more sense."

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NOT. GODDA. HAPPEN. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270203)

No way! Not even possible.

Re:NOT. GODDA. HAPPEN. (4, Insightful)

Drethon (1445051) | about 5 months ago | (#47270697)

Maybe but I'd rather have someone say let's shoot for the moon (or Mars) rather than just making a ton of profit using patents on old technology.

Re:NOT. GODDA. HAPPEN. (3, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 5 months ago | (#47270859)

Releasing the patents on his charging tech wasn't exactly done for altruistic reasons. He needs that to become the standard so Tesla doesn't have to build all of its own charging stations.

Rest assured that he makes plenty of money off all the other patents that Tesla keeps.

Re:NOT. GODDA. HAPPEN. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270935)

Umm notice what he didnt say? I'll bring him back.

Re:NOT. GODDA. HAPPEN. (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 5 months ago | (#47271117)

But he's going to do it anyway.

Human anus (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270205)

Human anus [wikipedia.org]

Water on mars for self-sustaining city (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270215)

I'm still thinking about how they're gonna get (enough) water out of Mars to be able to make a self-sustaining city. Anyone know anything about this?

Re:Water on mars for self-sustaining city (2)

loufoque (1400831) | about 5 months ago | (#47270239)

You can extract hydrogen from the soil.
You can then mix it with oxygen to get water.

Re:Water on mars for self-sustaining city (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 5 months ago | (#47270877)

Fine, so where do you get the oxygen?

Re:Water on mars for self-sustaining city (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about 5 months ago | (#47270909)

The atmosphere has CO2, which can be broken into graphite and oxygen. Of course, this process requires a lot of energy (otherwise we'd be doing it to fix our pollution problems here on Earth).

Otherwise there is also some water in the soil, too, not just hydrogen.

Re:Water on mars for self-sustaining city (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270927)

Well duh, you just extract it from the water we make.

Re:Water on mars for self-sustaining city (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 5 months ago | (#47270963)

The alien pyramid of course.

Re:Water on mars for self-sustaining city (2)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 5 months ago | (#47270241)

There is most likely more than enough water on Mars in the permafrost and the ice caps, as well as small amounts in the atmosphere, and quite possibly in underground deposits that we have yet to discover. It's really an engineering problem, though I'm not sure it's one that can be solved that soon.

Re:Water on mars for self-sustaining city (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 5 months ago | (#47270891)

Getting water on Mars isn't like digging a well on Earth. It's more akin to getting gold ore by processing tons of Alaskan dirt. It would be a huge operation, requiring a shitload of equipment and power--all just to support a small outpost.

Re:Water on mars for self-sustaining city (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 5 months ago | (#47271041)

The north polar cap of Mars contains 1.6 million cubic kilometers of water ice. Same for the south polar cap. Or so says Wikipedia.

Re:Water on mars for self-sustaining city (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 5 months ago | (#47270615)

If we have the energy we can make the water from local molecules. Energy is really the only problem ever.

With enough energy we could desalinate the oceans. Power power power.

Re:Water on mars for self-sustaining city (1, Offtopic)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 5 months ago | (#47270653)

A solution already exists [wikia.com] . My people have been using them for eons to eke out an existence on an arid planet. Of course constant exposure to the spice helps.

Bad idea (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270225)

Putting something like this in the hands of the 'shareholders' is a bad idea.

Re:Bad idea (4, Insightful)

queazocotal (915608) | about 5 months ago | (#47270245)

My favourite tweet of all time is from Musk.
'No near term plans to IPO @SpaceX. Only possible in very long term when Mars Colonial Transporter is flying regularly.'

Re:Bad idea (2)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 5 months ago | (#47270321)

What I don't get is: who cares about hedge fund managers? Just do an IPO for the general public, small investors all over the world are more than eager to pour their money into SpaceX, they are literally asking him for it! Sure, it's a risky investment, and Elon's primary objective doesn't seem to be profit, but why say no to all that crazy excited volunteer funding? Unless he really has all the money he needs right now and wouldn't have any efficient use for more?

Re:Bad idea (5, Insightful)

queazocotal (915608) | about 5 months ago | (#47270361)

Because unfortunately, an IPO for the general public means that unfortunate things happen.
You lose signifcant control of your company - possibly totally.
Musk developed Falcon Heavy - with essentially no market.
The Raptor engine currently in development has no market.
The requirement for reusability is reasonable from a long-term perspective.

You can't - as I understand it - legally IPO to only those sharing your vision. You are going
to get pension funds and hedge funds and ... purchasing slices of your company to diversify their
portfolios.
These may then not want you to go spending money on wild unprofitable in the next 10 years crap, but
to make next years dividend larger.

Re:Bad idea (4, Informative)

The Snowman (116231) | about 5 months ago | (#47270617)

You can't - as I understand it - legally IPO to only those sharing your vision. You are going to get pension funds and hedge funds and ... purchasing slices of your company to diversify their portfolios.

These may then not want you to go spending money on wild unprofitable in the next 10 years crap, but to make next years dividend larger.

This is part of the reason why every IPO files a prospectus with the SEC. SpaceX is what I would call "high risk" from an investment perspective. It could multiply my stock investment a thousand-fold, I could lose everything. This is not the sort of stock that most mutual and other funds would invest in. I believe the risk of going public is the stock market can be very fickle at times, especially with high risk, unproven technology: which describes SpaceX.

Staying private for now while the risk is higher means more stability for SpaceX. Elon Musk can still acquire capital and can still sell shares of the company, just not on a public market. Example: he could sell 25% of his company to a VC in return for a bucket of money, then pay it back in stock or cash after the IPO. But the company will not be subject to some of the market forces that govern publicly-traded corporations, which is a good thing in the short-term.

Re:Bad idea (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 5 months ago | (#47270845)

The risk there is that, if he sells too many shares, he will be forced by law to go public. The same thing happened to Facebook.

Re:Bad idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270631)

Feh, capitalism accounts for all things and is all-knowing and seeks out to remove inefficiencies wherever it goes.

Sell SpaceX now and get the larger market involved. The semi-communist idea of having a very small number of people, several of whom work for the company, own it flies in the face of a free market.

Re:Bad idea (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 5 months ago | (#47270747)

But as long as you keep more than 50% of the shares, you still have full control of the company, right? As long as you don't mislead the shareholders (which might lead to lawsuits) and make it clear from the start that this is a long term company which is just taking shareholders along for the ride without them having anything to say, what are the risks for SpaceX?

Multi voting shares (1)

nuggz (69912) | about 5 months ago | (#47271025)

Sheesh, sell off a bunch of low vote, or non-voting shares.

There was a big whine fest about the Google share split of the C, non voting, but everyone forgets that nobody can buy B class stock (10 votes per share).

Companies do it all the time, and some investors are okay being silent partners if they think the management is good.

Re:Bad idea (2)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 5 months ago | (#47270633)

For the same reason Leveraged Buy outs Work. Public companies are accountable to shareholders, who tend to be very short term focused (as in, give me money soon!). They do this even at the expense of longer term vision (as in, give me much more barrels of money mañana). A completely private enterprise allows you to ignore short term whims, and focus on making money, long term.

You are not going to crowdsource this (3, Interesting)

sjbe (173966) | about 5 months ago | (#47270735)

What I don't get is: who cares about hedge fund managers?

Because they are the ones that have the money. I'm not saying that to be snide, I just don't think you truly appreciate how cash flows on that sort of scale work. If the project isn't going to be government funded then you are going to have to get the money from large investors. Hedge fund investors would be a significant part of any such discussion since they own big stakes in most of the companies that would be involved in the engineering and financing of such a project.

Just do an IPO for the general public, small investors all over the world are more than eager to pour their money into SpaceX, they are literally asking him for it!

I appreciate your optimism but I think it is misplaced. Such a mission would cost at minimum, many billions of dollars. Probably hundreds of billions if not trillions. For comparison, the International Space Station which is barely out of the Earth's atmosphere has thus far cost $150 billion and that is FAR less complicated than getting a man to Mars. (that's roughly $500 for every person in America or ~$20 for every person on Earth) The chances of successfully crowd funding that via small investors is remote at best. I think you are greatly overestimating people's willingness and ability to fund such a risky endeavor, especially given that it is quite unclear whether a human could even survive the trip. With all due respect to Mr Musk I think the notion that we will have boots on Mars within 10-15 years is absurd unless one or more large nation states are enthusiastically behind the project and willing to fund it.

Re:Bad idea (1)

physicsphairy (720718) | about 5 months ago | (#47270337)

It's like saying, "I'll get around to it when pigs fly," except in this case the pigs are being strapped to very large rockets.

Re:Bad idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270281)

That's okay, because "shareholders" will never permit creating a self-sustaining colony, which by definition isn't required to purchase products or services from the company in question, and is therefore an unprofitable endeavour.

"Okay, so we've built a colony on Mars, but how's that going to affect the next quarter's results?"

At least Elon has the right goal (2)

Beck_Neard (3612467) | about 5 months ago | (#47270243)

Touch-and-go is pointless; having a permanent settlement is the only thing worth spending all that money for, as he's saying. But at the same time, I wonder what safeguards a Mars settlement would really give us as a species. By far the most likely way for us to go extinct is by self-extinction, and a Mars colony would not prevent that.

Re:At least Elon has the right goal (2)

idji (984038) | about 5 months ago | (#47270301)

Going to Mars won't save humanity, but working out how to live away from Earth could, even if that means learning on Mars how to live under the Earth to survive the 1450's imps, 1950's Apocalypse Godzillas and 2010's Biotech Zombies...

Re:At least Elon has the right goal (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270371)

Elon needs to put himself on Jupiter. It's the only place large enough for his ego.

Re:At least Elon has the right goal (1)

Boris Prpic (3585645) | about 5 months ago | (#47270535)

Just don't let politicians fly there and they are safe..

Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270247)

Who the fuck is Elon Musk? I'm guessing he didn't get laid a lot in high school with that name.

Re:Huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270283)

Who the fuck is Elon Musk? I'm guessing he didn't get laid a lot in high school with that name.

And the type of person who still has nothing better to do with their time than post worthless crap anonymously on Slashdot *did*, right? Let me guess your excuse... you were a charismatic, sociable ladies man at High School until you got that immunisation jab that turned you autistic, or more likely, into the pointless loser that posted the above comment? Yeah, that'll be it.

And yeah, I'm posting AC to Slashdot too, but I'm not the one taking the piss out of Elon Musk's former sex life, just yours. :-P

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270357)

Musk [slashdot.org]

Re:Huh? (1)

Arashi256 (1804688) | about 5 months ago | (#47270533)

If only there was some way to find out these things. Some sort of "engine" that would allow you to "search" for things. Somebody should invent that.

Re:Huh? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 5 months ago | (#47270627)

Ah, you mean the engine of a Tesla car! Well, I guess I'm gonna hop behind the wheel and go searching people who might know who this Elon Musk guy is.

I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026 (3, Funny)

MindPrison (864299) | about 5 months ago | (#47270255)

Ooh, the mob is at it again, this time they want to dump a body on mars.

Re:I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270485)

It makes more sense than inventing time travel so that the mob can dump its bodies in the past.

Re:I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270871)

Elon Musk says that he'll put the first human boots on Mars well before the 2020s are over.

It is human boots. It says so right here in the summary. NASA could have done that by sneaking a boot in one of the rover missions.

Re:I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026 (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 5 months ago | (#47271115)

That's 'cause the desert is filling up with idiots building space ports. There's no room to dump bodies any more. When all ya got is lemons, make lemonade.

Colonists to die on mars wanted: recruiting now (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270259)

Elon Musk may be dead from Fukushima related events leading to a collapse of ocean ecosystems. Therefore never to experience his egoistic fallacy.
So, good luck predicting the future...

SpaceX, Tesla, Solar City (5, Interesting)

stiggle (649614) | about 5 months ago | (#47270279)

He's building his framework of companies to support a colony there.

SpaceX to get there and then Tesla electric propulsion charged via better efficient solar panels from Solar City, needed due to the dimmer sun further out in the solar system.

Just needs a building system using Martian resources next (concrete based on martian dust)

Re:SpaceX, Tesla, Solar City (3, Interesting)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 5 months ago | (#47270621)

There's plenty of minerals on Mars. Maybe the first few years you'll have to stick to the imported habitat module, but if you send some geologists / chemists / minerologists in your first wave you'll likely figure out in quick order what you can mine / smelt into building materials.

Re:SpaceX, Tesla, Solar City (2)

Payden K. Pringle (3483599) | about 5 months ago | (#47270787)

Sounds like he's in the middle of some Space Civ V and he has a winning strategy, at least for the foreseeable future.

Right. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270333)

That's if he can keep his stupid electric car company in business that long.

Déjà vu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270339)

Total recall [imdb.com] . Too bad Mars is smaller than the Earth and is not really a viable solution to compensate the human population growth... Anyway, so cool!

Re:Déjà vu (5, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | about 5 months ago | (#47270461)

Most of Earth is underwater. Mars has only slightly smaller land area than Earth.

Re:Déjà vu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270515)

Very good point!

Re:Déjà vu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270833)

Most of Earth is underwater

In Soviet Mars, most water is underearth!

Re:Déjà vu (3, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | about 5 months ago | (#47270841)

So that's why it's called the Red Planet!

Re:Déjà vu (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 5 months ago | (#47270863)

The 99% of Earth's land area which is uninhabited would be considerably better for accommodating population growth though... and after that you can make some floating cities.

Re:Déjà vu (1)

PapaSmurphy (249954) | about 5 months ago | (#47271077)

What? Lets run some numbers, instead of pulling them out of our ass:

Surface Area of Land on Earth: 149,000,000 km2 (source [universetoday.com] )
Earth Population: ~7 billion (source [google.com] )

Dividing the two, I get about .02 km2 per person. That's not a lot of room, on average. Can we pack more people on the planet? Obviously so, but claiming that the earth is 99% uninhabited seems extreme. Don't forget, we also need land for things like plants and insects and other animals. You know, an ecosystem.

Rewriting.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270365)

"I'm HOPEFUL that the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years, I think it's certainly POSSIBLE for that to occur,"

Title for news article:

"I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026"

They are not the same thing. The news editors should be impartial about the facts.

And Extroverts not welcome (4, Interesting)

OzPeter (195038) | about 5 months ago | (#47270373)

There was a story last week about how extroverts would be the worst possible people to have along on a multi-month trip to mars in a very small spaceship. That is something that introverts are better suited for doing.

Extroverts Don't Belong on Mars [theatlantic.com]

Science Fiction (-1, Troll)

mfh (56) | about 5 months ago | (#47270399)

I was mentioning this yesterday as a good source of science fiction [slashdot.org] . Of course it would be pretty awesome to be able to colonize Mars, but we're not there yet and putting a human being there unless there is a real reason to do so is wasteful and a safety risk. Perhaps there is a reason to learn how to send a person to Mars, but it ultimately seems to be tied to the downward spiral the Earth has entered. Global warming, flooding, another potential ice age, wars... etc. Tesla wanted to try and reverse the situation by getting everyone driving electric cars instead of combustion engines that drive global warming further. The fact Musk is expanding into space travel should tell you something. He sees that Earth is in real jeopardy and he also appears to know when the shit hits the fan. To what extent is our fate reversible? What factors would be irreversible? Human greed? Corruption?

Re:Science Fiction (1)

itzly (3699663) | about 5 months ago | (#47270441)

The same human behavior that destroys Earth will also destroy Mars, with the difference that Mars is already pretty thoroughly destroyed to start with.

Re:Science Fiction (1)

mfh (56) | about 5 months ago | (#47270463)

Read the comment that I have linked to, because it solves this problem in a unique way.

Re:Science Fiction (3, Interesting)

Warbothong (905464) | about 5 months ago | (#47270509)

Of course it would be pretty awesome to be able to colonize Mars, but we're not there yet and putting a human being there unless there is a real reason to do so is wasteful and a safety risk.

You're right that there needs to be a 'real reason', but we can say the same thing about, say, Australia. Why do we make so many wasteful and potentially dangerous trips there every day? Because there is a thriving colony of humans there.

It's a bootstrapping problem. Visiting/emmigrating to a martian colony would be a 'real reason' to go to Mars; so that's what we need to build.

And they will get there riding... (0)

gatzke (2977) | about 5 months ago | (#47270407)

And they will get there riding a HYPERLOOP!

Ha, yeah, right.

The new DD Harriman. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270429)

Now what he really needs is a fusion powered engine...

Simple (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 5 months ago | (#47270445)

Kill. Freeze-dry. Compress. Ship. See?

Re:Simple (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 5 months ago | (#47270493)

Kill. Freeze-dry. Compress. Ship. See?

You and all the politicians first. We'll be right behind you.

Honest. :)

Strat

Re:Simple (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 5 months ago | (#47270497)

_I_ have no interest in going to Mars.

Re:Simple (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270569)

Fine. Just don't stand in the way of the people who do.

"The meek shall inherit the Earth..."

Re:Simple (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 5 months ago | (#47270589)

What will we do without the telephone headset sanitizers when the plague breaks out?

Ok, next question. (4, Interesting)

will_die (586523) | about 5 months ago | (#47270511)

When does he plan to get the first person from Mars back to Earth?

Re:Ok, next question. (3, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 5 months ago | (#47270559)

The only reason to bother doing so is PR. Keeping them alive for a few years is easier than bringing them back, and there is plenty of science to be done. The rovers have barely scraped the surface - literally.

Don't view it as suicide. Everyone dies eventually - a mars trip just hastens the inevitable.

Re:Ok, next question. (2)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 5 months ago | (#47270605)

It doesn't have to hasten it though. While it may be incredibly romantic to go somewhere to do science for a couple of years, and die gloriously in the service of the goddess Knowledge, if we do colonization right, it's more like committing not to go home for a couple decades.

Sure, the first 10-20 years building up Mars City will take a lot of time, but if you pick young people (under 30) then you have maybe 30-40 years to build up the Mars-Earth Express bus line. You just have to ensure that once they get there they can be mostly self sufficient.

Re:Ok, next question. (0)

tomhath (637240) | about 5 months ago | (#47270629)

You just have to ensure that once they get there they can be mostly self sufficient.

Yea, you "just" need to do that. No water, no food, no building materials, almost no energy - minor problems that never seem to come up in Sci Fi. Of course if you could "just" get all that stuff up there you could also have just landed a pretty nice fleet of autonomous rovers.

Re:Ok, next question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270857)

Plenty of water. It just happens that it is frozen.

Plenty of building materials. After all, even the pyramids were built with stone.

Plenty of energy - just not necessarily in a form immediately usable. Decent solar cells work quite well - and have been shown to work for 10 years and still going...

Plenty of oxygen - happens to be locked up in rocks and minerals... and in carbon dioxide.

And you don't read the hard Science Fiction (or science fact for that matter) or you would have known that.

Re:Ok, next question. (4, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 5 months ago | (#47270649)

Aside from the problem of a life support and food production system that can operate for 30 years, with a lead time on spare parts measured in years, and fresh supply shipments very limited. Plus the severe lack of medical services. Eventually a reliable colony would be possible - but the first few waves will just have to hope nothing breaks down and that the political environment back on earth keeps the resupply rockets flowing.

Re:Ok, next question. (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 5 months ago | (#47270843)

Except you can get air from the dirt on the surface of Mars. It's mostly iron oxide, harvesting the Oxide you get Iron + Oxygen -- both two useful items. Water is available in frozen form, or you can make it by a) recycling your own waste and b) getting hydrogen from the soil. Methane can also be harvested from Mars. I forget the exact chemistry involved but I know it's possible.

So now you have a source of energy, a source of air, and something to drink. Bring along some seeds for your new vegetable garden and you're set for basic needs.

Will you need shipments from Earth from time to time? Sure, but most of what you need can either come with you or be sent quite infrequently.

And each time more people come, or more supplies, you can add to your manufacturing ability on Mars. Maybe shipment #2 brings a blast furnace and people are now able to melt sand to glass. Maybe shipment #3 brings actual animals from earth so you can now breed your own farm animals.

Of course, you're right, all this does assume a sort of organic growth. If we just send two people, and no more, or no more supplies, at some point they'll die prematurely. But why would you just send a few people to Mars? You should build up a colony a few people at a time, until you have a city producing everything you need.

Re:Ok, next question. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 5 months ago | (#47270941)

Harvesting the oxide means you're bringing earth-moving equipment, chemical processing, and a furnace - either solar or nuclear. All of which is going to need maintenance and spares.

Even sending robotic missions ahead, it would be possibly the single most expensive project in the history of mankind.

Re:Ok, next question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270867)

Depends on who goes there.

The first settlers in America were the same way - no medical, little food, no infrastructure, lead time on spare parts measured in years... and fresh supply shipments nonexistent.

Re:Ok, next question. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 5 months ago | (#47270913)

A great many of them died, and they were settling in a place that had a breathable atmosphere and soil you could grow crops in.

Evolution in action! (2, Interesting)

wisebabo (638845) | about 5 months ago | (#47270513)

Since we don't know what the long term effects of low-gee gravity (Mars is 1/3 that of Earth) as well as the higher level of background radiation (Mars' atmosphere is too thin to screen out a lot it), we're going to be evolving a new race of Humans! (I guess we'll call them Martians).

This is the way Nature has done it for billions of years and it's worked. It's called Evolution. Sounds fine except Evolution works through DEATH, DEATH killing off those who can't survive long enough to pass along their genes to the next generation. So we may find that the first generation of colonists on Mars are going to have an absolutely horrific death rate (in addition to all the problems they'll run into with accidents, running out of supplies, breakdowns, etc.) but the next generation will be less so and so on. This is not a pretty picture but then again Nature; "red in tooth and claw" rarely is.

The only way to make sure that there are enough Humans to evolve into Martians is to have a very high birth rate. So perhaps, as Dr. Strangelove would have it, we should have a wildly disproportionate sex ratio of females to males, in order to have the maximum population growth ("and they should be of a highly stimulating sexual nature" :). So maybe there's something in it for (men) to go to Mars!

Of course we could actually avoid all this trauma (and sex?) by avoiding the natural selection process of Nature by fully understanding the problems we will face. Then we could either, pre-select the individuals who happened to be genetically endowed to survive and reproduce under those conditions or genetically engineer people who can. But that would actually require spending (comparatively little) money on such things as a centrifuge for the ISS to study mammalian reproduction under partial-gee situations. Since our species is not particularly good at planning (climate change anyone?) it appears as if we may be colonizing the old fashioned way; send a lot of people and see who lives.

I think the first polynesians to cross the pacific in their canoes, the first americans to walk across the bering strait and even the first pilgrims to land in New England (1/3 died the first winter) would sympathize.

Re:Evolution in action! (1)

dcw3 (649211) | about 5 months ago | (#47270613)

Since our species is not particularly good at planning (climate change anyone?)

Okay, I'll bite. What does one have to do with the other?

Obligatory SiFi reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270517)

...Get your ass to Mars!

Toxic Mars (4, Interesting)

Silpher (1379267) | about 5 months ago | (#47270529)

Too bad Maris is toxic as fuck : http://www.newscientist.com/ar... [newscientist.com]

Re:Toxic Mars (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270897)

Only some of it.

Even earth is toxic as fuck.

Cherry pits have cyanide, water will kill you (only takes a couple of thimble fulls inhailed). Oxygen kills you, Air pollution kills, You can freeze, die of heat, starve, gravity, sunlight causes cancer ...

Goodwill gifts for the native Martians? (2)

Snufu (1049644) | about 5 months ago | (#47270541)

Anything but blankets.

2026? (2)

Snufu (1049644) | about 5 months ago | (#47270549)

Give us a gun big enough and we'll get you there in a few weeks.

H.G. Wells Aerospace

Why exactly... (1)

philmarcracken (1412453) | about 5 months ago | (#47270593)

Achievement Unlocked: Landed on Mars

It's like one of those tutorial achievements you unlock for having a pulse. What in the wide world of fuck do we gain from that red dustbowl, exactly?

Re:Why exactly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270865)

An almost unlimited supply of red dust!

Re:Why exactly... (1)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about 5 months ago | (#47270899)

What's the point of doing anything beyond following basic survival and reproduction instincts at all? Most things on Earth are done simply because someone wants to or finds it exciting.

Heinlein's answer (3, Interesting)

sabbede (2678435) | about 5 months ago | (#47270607)

Anybody remember the Long Run Foundation from "Time for the Stars"? Because it sounds like that's what Elon needs.

Does the guy know? (3, Funny)

Brandano (1192819) | about 5 months ago | (#47270635)

I would be pretty pissed off if I were to find myself on Mars all of a sudden with no explanation.

Re:Does the guy know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47271001)

Just reserve judgement until Dejah Thoris shows up.

Weyland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270639)

If he gets people on Mars and is able to turn space travel into a good profit we will have the IPO of the millenium. I would say a trillion dollar market capitalization could be easy. If a bunch of phones and internet tablets can get you to the half trillion range then a trillion dollars would actually be quite low. Perhaps something in the range of Dutch East India Company which some historians estimate to have been worth over 7 trillion dollars in todays money. Weyland Industries anybody?

Re:Weyland (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270951)

Only after a merger with Yutani Construction Company... :)

The only way humans.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47270805)

....can make a permanent settlement on Mars is if the productivity of each human > the cost of keeping them alive on Mars.

Otherwise, the colony is not self-sustaining, it just becomes a money pit and would die off if not kept life support by the founding nation.

This is one of the reason why we have not colonized Antarctica at all (the treaties are meaningless)....the cost of keeping 1 human alive there > the wealth produced by each human. We do have the technology to survive in that environment, but all this adds to the cost of life.

Same thing with Mars...We have the technology to survive on Mars (not so sure about surviving the trip there), however all this high tech adds significant cost. Lets assume for a second it costs 2 billion dollars to get 20 humans there (number pulled out of my ass, the real cost is probably much higher atm)....that means each one would need to produce $100,000,000.00 of wealth just to break even...just to get there! Add to that the costs of keeping them alive year after year.....

You can always make the argument that this is the required initial investment that will pay off further down the line....But what politician plans 200 years down the road, where he cannot get the glory or the benefits?

Re:The only way humans.... (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 5 months ago | (#47270879)

If you could legally drill oil in Antarctica I bet there would be people living there.

Radiation (1)

splashbot (1179993) | about 5 months ago | (#47270823)

If he wants to put a live human on Mars, or at least make martian orbit, he has to solve the radiation shielding problem. In order to do that he will have to basically carry a large bulk shield into space. Water is ideal for this purpose because it contains a lot of hydrogen that can absorb the secondary neutron radiation that is formed when protons that make up the solar wind cause spallation in the material of the vehicle. To deflect charged particles in the first place you need a strong magnetic field which requires a power source. Here is a link. http://www.nasa.gov/directorat... [nasa.gov] . This is the only unsolved problem, besides who will pay the bill.

"Human on Mars by 2025..." (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 5 months ago | (#47270839)

"...dead or alive"

New Space Race (1)

geoscodin (886628) | about 5 months ago | (#47271065)

This time it's NASA vs SpaceX

It could happen (1)

DaWhilly (2555136) | about 5 months ago | (#47271095)

Nothing in the article has to be done by a living person. He could just send a corpse and still meet the goal of getting a person there, land, and return the body.
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