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.

  • 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.

In 1999, David Bowie knew the internet would change the world

Musican. Actor. Fashion Icon. Internet Visionary?

Technology & Innovation
  • David Bowie was well known as a rock star, but somehow his other interests and accomplishments remain obscure.
  • In this 1999 interview, he explains why he knows the internet is more than just a tool and why it was destined to change the world.
  • He launched his own internet service provider in 1998, BowieNet. It ceased operations in 2006.
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People who constantly complain are harmful to your health

Moans, groans, and gripes release stress hormones in the brain.

Photo credit: Getty Images / Stringer
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Could you give up complaining for a whole month? That's the crux of this interesting piece by Jessica Hullinger over at Fast Company. Hullinger explores the reasons why humans are so predisposed to griping and why, despite these predispositions, we should all try to complain less. As for no complaining for a month, that was the goal for people enrolled in the Complaint Restraint project.

Participants sought to go the entirety of February without so much as a moan, groan, or bellyache.

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​Is science synonymous with 'truth'? Game theory says, 'not always.'

Good science is sometimes trumped by the craving for a "big splash."

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  • Scientists strive to earn credit from their peers, for grants from federal agencies, and so a lot of the decisions that they make are strategic in nature. They're encouraged to publish exciting new findings that demonstrate some new phenomenon that we have never seen before.
  • This professional pressure can affect their decision-making — to get acclaim they may actually make science worse. That is, a scientist might commit fraud if he thinks he can get away with it or a scientist might rush a result out of the door even though it hasn't been completely verified in order to beat the competition.
  • On top of the acclaim of their peers, scientists — with the increasing popularity of science journalism — are starting to be rewarded for doing things that the public is interested in. The good side of this is that the research is more likely to have a public impact, rather than be esoteric. The bad side? To make a "big splash" a scientist may push a study or article that doesn't exemplify good science.