Advertisement

Top Astronomer Warns That Elon Musk's Mars Plans Are a Dangerous Delusion

Mars Attack

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said he plans to put a million people on Mars by 2050 — with his ex-girlfriend Grimes presumably being one of those colonizers.

But Martin Rees, respected astrophysicist and member of the Royal Households of the United Kingdom under the lofty title of "Astronomer Royal," is saying not so fast — and calling Musk's plans a "dangerous illusion."

He made his bold-face remarks for the House of Lords' podcast Lord Speaker’s Corner, as spotted by The Telegraph, in which he also called Musk an "extraordinary figure” who has a "rather strange personality," alluding to Musk's increasingly erratic behavior.

"I don’t think it’s realistic and we’ve got to solve those problems here on Earth," he said. "Dealing with climate change on Earth is a doddle compared to making Mars habitable. So I don’t think we should hold that out as a long-term aim at all."

"I think there might be a few crazy pioneers living on Mars, just like there are people living at the South Pole, although it’s far less hospitable than the South Pole," he said. "But the idea of mass migration to avoid the Earth’s problems, which he and a few other space enthusiasts adopt, that, I think, is a dangerous illusion."

Hazy Future

Rees instead proposed that any human exploration of space should be funded privately and not with public money, like the close collaboration between NASA and Musk's SpaceX, because governments "got to be very safety conscious and that makes it very expensive," he said.

Instead, Rees proposed remote-controlled robots do the bulk of exploration — and heavy lifting of building structures out in space — while "only people who really have a high appetite for risk should be going into space, and they should be privately funded, not by the rest of us."

NASA is already exploring commercial partners, including SpaceX, for getting to Mars, which will undoubtably cost countless gobs of money.

These are practical points Rees has raised, because our bodies are just not equipped to withstand longterm space travel due to the low gravity and cosmic radiation, among other harmful factors.

And in a bigger sense, maybe he's right that we should fix up the problems we've caused here on Earth before forging out to mess up another planet.

More on Mars and Elon Musk: Elon Musk: My Main Goal is to Get Humanity to Mars Before I Die