Elon Musk has published a lengthy dissertation detailing his vision for making humans a multi-planetary species in the online publishing house Liebert Pub.
Musk notes that the first step to accomplishing life outside of Earth, which he envisions to be Mars, is to establish reliable space transportation to and from the red planet. Once that building block is in place, work to establish a colony on the planet can commence.
To understand the process, we have to rewind the tape back to the underlying motivation behind Mars. Why do we need a colony of humans living on Mars? Musk believes, as does the greater scientific community, that if humanity remains on Earth, it will inevitably face extinction at the hands of an asteroid or other catastrophic event. Even with technology at our disposal, humanity would suffer a similar fate as the dinosaurs if a comparable asteroid was intent on meeting up with Earth.
Musk doesn’t want humanity to die off and believes that establishing a colony on Mars is the best backup plan for that eventuality. The red planet has an atmosphere and receives enough sunshine that it would be able to sustain life if we put a bit of planning and work into it. Gravity is less than Earth so our bodies and lifestyles would naturally have to evolve to the lower gravity. Much like Asa Butterfield who played a boy born on Mars in the movie “The Space Between Us“, we do not know what impact lower gravity would have or could have over long periods of time.
Plants could be cultivated on the planet and facts we’ve learned of Mars leads us to believe that establishing a colony there is possible. Musk believes that the we would need a significant number of people living…