SpaceX CEO Elon Musk attended the Q&A session at South by Southwest in Austin Texas on March 10 (Sunday). A lot of people came in to commemorate the founder as well as ask questions about the ambition of SpaceX and how it would accomplish the plan to build the colonies on Mars. People asked different questions ranging from the launch, politics, colonies on the red planet and more. He also answered on how the first colonists will work and perform while living on the red planet as an alternative to Earth.
Out of the series of questions asked at the Q&A session, the first one was about the chances of how rich people would try to escape the clutch of Earth and use Mars as an escape hatch. Elon Musk answered the question highlighting that colonization on Mars is very dangerous. He pointed out that living on the Mars is both dangerous and increases the chances of death but on the other hand, surviving on the red planet will be an excitement in itself. Further, people who are ready to take such extreme risk are excited to step on the Mars keeping the danger element aside.
As per Musk, the space agency believes to make short trips to Mars and back in the first half of 2019. By 2022, the agency has planned to transport equipment, glass domes, and other material needed for colonization before humans could visit it. He even dubbed the Mars colonization as a plan B in case if the planet Earth is devastated due to nuclear wars that would wipe out the entire civilization. Musk plans to preserve seeds of human civilization by transporting some humans to the red planet. In a scenario when nuclear wars around the world wipe out the human civilization, these colonists will be instrumental in sustaining life and keeping the human race alive. It is highly unlikely that World War III would break out, but in case it did somehow, colonists on Mars will ensure that the human species survive and then, repopulate the surface.
Most of the people had tech-related questions on how the colonies on the red planet will be established. Elon Musk explained how SpaceX will use reusable spacecraft that will ferry humans to and fro Mars. Musk pointed out the upcoming giant BFR rocket which is 100% reusable and will bring down the cost of space travel within the range of what Falcon 1 (first flight by SpaceX) cost i.e. between $5 to $6 million USD. Setting up colonies on Mars requires a power station, glass domes, basic and fundamental living equipment and infrastructure.
When asked about how laws will be practiced on the red planet, Musk stated that the colonies will follow direct democracy and that he would be entitled as ‘emperor’ though jokingly. Musk commented that people of Mars will form a direct democracy where all the people will be equally involved in the selection process rather than representative democracy followed in the U.S. where the selected representative shortlists his own team. He mocked the Republican tax bill passed in December 2017 whose length exceeded 1,000 pages after including conference committee report and other details by saying that the bills passed on Mars will not be longer than ‘Lord of the Rings’. He pointed that the laws must be easy to understand and repeal them to protect freedom of human beings.
During the Q&A session, Elon was asked by an attendee about his inspiration to which he said, it will be definitely hip-hop artist Kanye West and entertainer Fred Astaire. He mocked his tweeting habits on his other ventures like Tesla, Boring Company where he pointed out how he spends most of the time tweeting about the latter than spending the time at the company.
Less than 10 years ago, SpaceX was unveiled with the aim to lower the cost of space travel to 1/10th of the amount spent by other space agencies. SpaceX aims to launch humans on Mars by 2023, however, there may be certain changes in the plan due to constraints related to the upcoming journey.