By Barry Eitel
SAN FRANCISCO (AA) - Elon Musk, chief executive of carmaker Tesla Motors and private space exploration firm SpaceX, said in remarks released Thursday that he plans to send a manned mission to Mars within a decade.
Speaking at the Code Conference in California, Musk said SpaceX would send people to Mars in 2024. The landing for the mission would occur in 2025, he envisioned.
In fact, SpaceX will start sending missions to Mars in the next two years, timed to the periods when the orbits of Mars and Earth are closest, called a “Mars opportunity” by Musk.
“We're going to send a mission to Mars with every Mars opportunity from 2018 onwards,” he said. “And they occur approximately every 26 months.”
He also hinted that Earth’s neighboring planet might be his choice of a retirement destination.
“I think if you're going to choose a place to die,” he mused, “then Mars is probably not a bad choice.”
Musk believes it’s likely that everyone is living in a computer simulation.
“It would seem to follow that the odds that we’re in ‘base reality’ is one in billions,” he commented, adding that we are “probably” living in a videogame-like computer simulation.
“Otherwise,” he noted, “if civilization stops advancing, then that may be due to some calamitous event that stops civilization.”
Soon, Musk thinks, scientists will build computer simulations so advanced it will be difficult to tell them apart from reality.
As for Mars, Musk is already planning what sort of government would rule future colonies, and he would not copy the example set by the current U.S. Congress.
“Most likely the form of government on Mars would be direct democracy, not representative,” he explained. “So it would be people voting directly on issues. And I think that's probably better because the potential for corruption is substantially diminished in a direct versus a representative democracy.”