Elon Musk explains why space colonizers should choose ‘fun’ Mars over the moon
A paper on Musk’s Mars mission, published in the journal New Space, argued humans who wish to be “multi-planetary species” should opt to relocate to the Red Planet because the moon lacks the same feasibility to become a “self-sustaining city.”
“I think it is challenging to become multi-planetary on the moon because it is much smaller than a planet," said Musk. "It does not have any atmosphere. It is not as resource-rich as Mars. It has got a 28-day day, whereas the Mars day is 24.5 hours. In general, Mars is far better-suited ultimately to scale up to be a self-sustaining civilization.”
The fun factor on Mars is also worth noting, says Musk: “It would be quite fun to be on Mars because you would have gravity that is about 37% of that of Earth, so you would be able to lift heavy things and bound around."
Musk does admit, however, that current costs mean such a trip to Mars equates to some $10 billion per person. A cost he remains determined to lower by 5 million percent to “roughly equivalent to a median house price in the United States, which is around $200,000."
On the opposite side of the colonizing scale, Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos wants to build a permanent settlement on the moon. Bezos claims his mission – albeit a shorter one – could be under way as early as July 2020.
Musk maintains his ambitious 10-year deadline to get colonists on Mars is feasible “if things go super-well.” NASA has a more cautious Mars goal of 2030.
The race is on as to who will get where they’re going first.