Wednesday 18 October 2017

'Mars will be home to city of a million in 50 years'

SpaceX founder Elon Musk. Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg
SpaceX founder Elon Musk. Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg

Sarah Knapton London

A city on Mars with a million inhabitants could be achievable within 50 years, the space entrepreneur Elon Musk has forecast, as he laid out plans to turn mankind into a multi-planetary species.

The SpaceX founder warned that humans would need to venture away from Earth to avoid a "Doomsday event" and our "eventual extinction".

But he said that a huge Martian city could be established this century, which would not just be an outpost, but a fully functioning society with "iron foundries and pizza joints".

Mr Musk is planning the first manned flight to Mars in 2023 and has said he wants to die on Mars, although he has stipulated "not on impact".

Under plans published in the journal 'New Space', the billionaire said he hoped to build a "Mars Colonial Fleet" of more than 1,000 cargo ships with 200 passengers each and materials to build homes, industrial plants and shops. He claimed that the first colonists could begin setting out in a decade, and said it would take between 40 and 100 years to populate a city.

He said: "One path is we stay on Earth forever, and then there will be some eventual extinction. The alternative is to become a space-faring civilisation and a multi-planetary species."

Nasa has also said it is planning to establish a Mars colony by the 2030s, although it plans to establish a base on the Moon and other stepping stones first, and the Mars One project, set up by a non-profit organisation based in the Netherlands, has proposed to establish a permanent human colony there by 2027. (© Daily Telegraph London)

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