Elon Musk sees 70% chance of moving to Mars

Axios Musk interview
Axios’ Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen interview SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. (Axios / HBO via YouTube)

As NASA prepares for its next Mars landing, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is giving himself a 70 percent chance of moving to Mars. But in an Axios interview airing tonight on HBO, he emphasizes that it won’t be a billionaire joyride.

“Your probability of dying on Mars is much higher than Earth. Really, the ad for going to Mars would be like Shackleton’s ad for going to the Antarctic,” Musk said, referring to explorer Ernest Shackleton’s harrowing 1914-1917 expedition. (The apocryphal ad supposedly was headlined “Men Wanted for Hazardous Journey.”)

“It’s going to be hard,” Musk said. “There’s a good chance of death, going in a little can through deep space. You might land successfully. Once you land successfully, you’ll be working nonstop to build the base. … There’s a good chance you die there. We think you can come back, but we’re not sure. Now, does that sound like an escape hatch for rich people?”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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