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Elon Musk: Moving to Mars would cost about $200,000

The CEO once said a self-sustaining Mars colony won't work if it's wildly expensive for each person to make the voyage.

Image source: NASA Ames Research Center
  • Musk has said that he wants to keep the per-ticket cost of traveling to Mars roughly equivalent to the cost of a house in the U.S.
  • SpaceX plans to send a cargo mission to Mars in 2022, followed by a manned mission in 2024.
  • Musk said there's a 70% chance he'll travel to Mars. A recent survey suggests most Americans aren't quite as adventurous.

A ticket to the red planet aboard a SpaceX rocket will likely cost "a couple hundred thousand dollars," according to CEO Elon Musk.

That may be expensive, but it's a price point that would make the voyage feasible for people who aren't incredibly wealthy.

"If we can get the cost of moving to Mars to be roughly equivalent to a median house price in the United States, which is around $200,000, then I think the probability of establishing a self-sustaining civilization is very high," Musk said last year.

The billionaire entrepreneur provided something of an update Sunday to Axios during its final episode of its limited documentary series on HBO, reaffirming that the company was aiming for that price point and denying that the voyage would be an "escape hatch" for the rich.

"Your probability of dying on Mars is much higher than Earth," Musk said, comparing a hypothetical ad for the Mars voyage with Ernest Shackleton's ad for going to the Antarctic, which read: "Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in event of success."

He added that it's unclear whether Mars inhabitants would be able to return to Earth. As of November 2018, SpaceX has an "aspirational goal" of sending a cargo mission to Mars in 2022, followed by a second manned mission in 2024.

Musk says he might go to Mars "for the challenge"

Musk told Axios there's a "70 percent" he'll make the voyage to the red planet. When asked why he'd in light of the dangers, Musk said, "There's lots of people that climb mountains. You know, why do they climb mountains? Because people die on Mount Everest all the time. They like doing it for the challenge."

Most Americans aren't quite as adventurous. When asked how likely they'd be willing to travel into space if it were free, 35% of Americans said "extremely likely" while 31% said "not at all", according to an Axios survey conducted in November.

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Leonardo da Vinci could visually flip between dimensions, neuroscientist claims

A neuroscientist argues that da Vinci shared a disorder with Picasso and Rembrandt.

Christopher Tyler
Mind & Brain
  • A neuroscientist at the City University of London proposes that Leonardo da Vinci may have had exotropia, allowing him to see the world with impaired depth perception.
  • If true, it means that Da Vinci would have been able to see the images he wanted to paint as they would have appeared on a flat surface.
  • The finding reminds us that sometimes looking at the world in a different way can have fantastic results.
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Women who go to church have more kids—and more help

Want help raising your kids? Spend more time at church, says new study.

Young children in monastic robes

Pixabay
Culture & Religion
  • Religious people tend to have more children than secular people, but why remains unknown.
  • A new study suggests that the social circles provided by regular church going make raising kids easier.
  • Conversely, having a large secular social group made women less likely to have children.
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Bubonic plague case reported in China

Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.

Vials Of Bacteria That May Cause Plague Missing From TX University

(Photo by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Getty Images)
Coronavirus
  • The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
  • Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
  • Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
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Future of Learning

Education vs. learning: How semantics can trigger a mind shift

The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.

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