Elon Musk wants to settle on Mars. Is it profitable?

Musk, the company’s chief executive and chief engineer, refers to his planetary aspirations as a science fiction protagonist with a moral call, rather than an entrepreneur with a disruptive business plan.

NASA’s Apollo program, the last spacecraft to come close to Musk’s planetary travel aspirations, landed six spacecraft and 12 astronauts on the moon in the mid – 20th century. Apollo Cost Today it is worth more than $ 280 billion, and in some years, NASA has taken up more than 4% of the entire national budget. The space agency, which has received less than half a percent of the federal budget in recent years, is mapping out its own plans to orbit humans and ultimately the path to Mars.

But the company did not specify how much the latter would cost.

Muskin’s personal wealth has risen to about $ 100 billion – at least on paper – thanks in a small fraction Stock bonus series From his electric car company Tesla. Musk has repeatedly said he hopes to gain space from other businesses in SpaceX, including the existing satellite-Internet initiative. Beta testing, To help fuel the fuel of his Mars rocket. SpaceX has raised nearly $ 6 billion from banks and venture capitalists, making it one of the world’s most valuable private companies, according to data company Pitchbook. Presumably, at least some investors will be looking for money one day.

It begs the question: Want to make money on Mars?

Planetary profit

It will take SpaceX many, many more years to develop all the technologies needed for a Mars settlement. The company is in the early stages of building its starship, a massive rocket and spacecraft system that Musk hopes will carry cargo and people across a vacuum of at least 30 million miles between Earth and Mars. Musk estimates that Starship development will cost up to $ 10 billion, and that SpaceX will try to launch “hundreds” of satellites into Starship before it can hand over human lives on August 31st.

If this proves trekking to Mars, immigrants will need air tight Habitats To protect them from toxic air and deadly Radiation It will rain on its surface.

“It’s not for the faint of heart,” Musk said. “You have a good chance of dying, it’s going to be hard … it’s going to be very glorious if it works.”

But for at least the first 100 years of the existence of humans on Mars, the economic situation will be questionable, said Michael Meyer, a leading scientist with NASA’s recently launched Mars exploration program. Diligence Robot to further explore the planet.
How SpaceX and NASA coped with a bitter cultural conflict to bring back American astronaut missiles
Musk has a plan to turn Mars into an attractive place for long-term life: a fantasy scene of humans transforming Mars into Earth-like by injecting gases into the atmosphere. It would be an attempt to use the same greenhouse gases that cause our planet’s climate crisis to make Mars ’atmosphere thicker, warmer, and more hospitable to life. Musk has promoted the idea that this process can be kicked off Dropping nuclear bombs On the planet.

The idea of ​​the landscape arose from the scientists around it, the mayor said, but not from anyone who thought it was something that could or could be done by humans.

“It’s an intelligent exercise,” the mayor said. But there is no oxygen in the Martian atmosphere. There is an infinite amount of water, which means it will be very difficult to grow crops, which means there is very little to create a water cycle around Mars. It is not even clear if there is enough evidence to make the landscape possible on Mars.

Musk, in a photo posted on his Instagram, said that SpaceX & # 39; Is wearing & quot; Occupy Mars & quot; Shirt.

I think “Total Recall” is the right idea, “he joked.” You have to use some alien technology. “

Musk also acknowledged that the terrain would be very fertile. But this notion is embedded in the SpaceX stories that the company sells T-shirts called “Nuke Mars” and “Occupy Mars”.

Kasturi can often be seen wearing one.

Values ​​and ratings

The mayor said there are no known resources on Mars that would be valuable enough to sell to mining and terrestrial businesses. “Part of the reason [scientists are] There is interest in Mars – it is made of the same materials as Earth, “he told CNN Business.

Musk previously suggested that he agree, noting that the resources on Mars would only be valuable to residents who want to build businesses on the planet. He noted Eight years ago The only “economic exchange” between Mars and Earth’s inhabitants is “intellectual property”.
Mars, the fourth planet from the Sun, has days that range from Earth to Earth. But it is a small planet, with an average temperature of -81 degrees Fahrenheit, and its atmosphere is very thin and often contains carbon dioxide.

Money-making ambitions aside, the idea that Mars could one day become a metropolis and – possibly – a tourist destination is acknowledged by leading scientists such as Mayer, NASA’s leading Mars expert.

The mayor, 20 years ago, attended a presentation on Tuesday business and tourism. “I was very skeptical about this … and coming out, ‘Well, [there are] Some pretty reasonable ideas, ”he said, adding that I now accept the idea that businesses can make space travel more accessible.

The mayor added that, in his mind, it was not If The trip to Mars will one day be a lucrative endeavor, however When.

Musk did not expand his ideas on making money on Mars, but his ideas on exporting intellectual property echoed a book written by Robert Zubrin, an influential but polarizing figure in the space community. long time Musk Friendship.

“Ideas could be another potential export for Martian settlers,” Jubrin, president of the Mars Association, wrote in his 1996 book, The Case for Mars.

As we look to the future of humanity, Juprin looks to its past.

“Just as the labor shortage in the United States in the colonial and 19th centuries created a flood of Yankee ingenious inventions, so too will the conditions of acute labor shortages … lead to Mars ingenuity.”

In a recent interview with CNN Business, Jubrin backed those ideas, arguing that American colonialism worked. An example of how Mars settlers would finance their travels, Juprin seeks to re-colonize North America, either by dissolving their territorial possessions or by “contracted slavery” to finance the expedition.

“If you say, OK, you want to go to Mars, you want to offer something,” Juprin said. “If you look at colonial America, a middle class person can go to America by dissolving their farm. But, income will give them a one way ticket. But if you work, all you can do is sell your labor for seven years.”

Jubrin, who has worked with conservative think tanks but says he is not politically affiliated, also acknowledged that colonialism could go hand in hand with exploitation: “If someone says, ‘But there will be no exploitation?’ Of course, people always do to each other. ”

(Musk does not explain his thoughts on colonialism, he also donates to the United States Political parties.)

To be clear: The story of American colonialism includes savage slavery and the brutality and annihilation of many Native peoples.

“There are no Native Martians,” Juprin said.

But Damien Williams, a PhD student and author of the Virginia Tech Study of Advanced Technologies, Ethics, and Communities, warns that exploring the stories and space we can tell about the United States may leave the main context.

 The prototype of SpaceX's Starship spacecraft will be spotted at the company's Texas launch pad on September 28, 2019 in Boca Chica, near Brownsville, Texas.
It is not yet clear, for example, who Musk considers to be the first Martian immigrants. NASA astronauts? Are the extreme rich looking for thrills? SpaceX staff?
“This competitive position of expansion and research is not a bad thing,” said Williams, who works with the bar team. Just the Space Alliance, Said. But when it comes to a private company that uses resources to claim that international contracts do not belong to anyone – “Who brings in, how? Who leaves, why? These things are important.”

Musk’s use of the word “colonialism” enriches himself with the long history of Americans and other Western nations by exploiting and enslaving others. When colonizing another planet, it is not just the microbial lifestyles that may exist on Mars. Williams said that without clearly defined goals and agreements, the SpaceX colony could create a “controversial conflict”.

“The values ​​we take for space exploration should be front and center,” he said.

SpaceX did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

Phil Schwartz

"Food expert. Unapologetic bacon maven. Beer enthusiast. Pop cultureaholic. General travel scholar. Total internet buff."

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