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Elon Musk Wants Space Colonists, Not Just Tourists 67

An anonymous reader writes "Elon Musk, founder of PayPal and CEO of SpaceX, is not all that excited about space tourism: he wants to colonize Mars. 'I don't think it's a tragedy that people can't have fun in space. People should be able to go if they want to, but it's no great tragedy if they can't. But I do think it is a great tragedy if humanity can't establish itself on another planet. It's the single most important thing we can do to continue the human race.' SpaceX will launch Falcon I in mid to late January 2005."
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Elon Musk Wants Space Colonists, Not Just Tourists

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  • Homestead Mars! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dr. Bent ( 533421 ) <benNO@SPAMint.com> on Thursday November 11, 2004 @11:19AM (#10787700) Homepage
    We need a Homestead Act [wikipedia.org] for Mars. It would probably have to be an international treaty (although with the current White House that's not a strict requirement). Carve out a section of Mars and say: If you live here for X number of years, you own it.

    If you REALLY want to colonize Mars, allow corporations to do this as well as individuals. That's probably the fastest way. Whether or not it's the best way is up for debate...
  • From the Babylon 5 [warnerbros.com] television series, Capt. John Sheridan:

    "Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics and you'll get ten different answers, but there's one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won't just take us. It'll take Marilyn Monroe and Lao-Tzu, Einstein, Morobuto, Buddy Holly, Aristophanes .. and all of this .. all of this was for nothing unless we go to the stars." (Infection, season 1, ep. 4)
  • by rubberbando ( 784342 ) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @12:21PM (#10788484)
    I mean, who would really but up to such a challenge of giving up everything they have here on Earth? Obviously living on Mars, you would lose so many of the conviences and luxuries you are used to here on Earth. Most likely no more TV, broadband internet, or junk food. You would have to spend your entire life inside a building or in a space suit when you wanted to get out and stretch your legs or explore (if you are authorized to do such things). It would definately take some serious courage to change your life so drastically.

    Perhaps, the first colonists to another planet should be from places that don't have so many luxuries, if any at all so they won't go crazy from such a drastic lifestyle change. People from 3rd world countries would most likely be better at adjusting. They are already used to living in harsh environments and working hard to survive. Sending them to colonize Mars would probably be a step up for many of them.
  • by WhiplashII ( 542766 ) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @12:27PM (#10788555) Homepage Journal
    I am thinking more long term. There are problems to be solved on Mars (cold, sand storms, low energy availability, etc.), and (probably somewhat harder) problems to be solved in space (near perfect recycling of air and water, safety, artificial gravity that doesn't make you sick, etc.). My point is that if you solve the problems on Mars, you have less than doubled the space available for humans (or probability of our species survival, if you prefer). Mars colonization doesn't lead anywhere but Mars.

    Once we have gone to space, our possibilities are limitless. For example, once completely self contained space platforms are common, one of them will almost certainly get fed up with everyone in the sol system - and take off for another star. It won't matter how far you are going, because the journey (or arrival) would not really change your life style any.

    In addition, it will be possible to get with a group of like-minded people and build your own society. This could be an end of terrorism, maybe even an end of some of the other unlpeasant things that happen on Earth. (Not that this will change human nature, it will just reduce the struggle for resources.)

  • by WhiplashII ( 542766 ) on Thursday November 11, 2004 @12:56PM (#10788911) Homepage Journal
    Odd that you were marked as troll and flamebait. In general you are correct, except that (free will) colonists are normally middle class (because they can afford the ticket). They typically are trying to go from a situation they have no control over to a situation they have more control over. Quakers came to America for freedom of religion. Some Irish came over to avoid a famin. People talk about leaving the US to avoid Republican government, etc.

    The real motivator I feel will be 2 fold. First, the threat of terrorism / poverty will drive people to leave Earth (which probably improves life for those left behind as well). Second, people will leave Earth to escape the mass of rules that all governments create. As any government ages, it comes up with lots of little rules of behaviour for every situation (for example, whenever someone dies or a shuttle blows up there is a new law created). These rules don't bother most people, but to some they troublesome. Those people will leave as well.

    Just remember, the way to get rich during a colonist movement is to be a landowner, a shopkeeper, or a transportation system owner.

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal