After hearing of Elon Musk there are a lot of things we have come across or stumbled upon that we say ‘That is crazy’ or ‘that guy is crazy’. We all can attest to that. Also, there are daring feats that one tries to do, or even completely achieves it that we still call crazy, Nelson Mandela’s famous quote says “It always seems crazy until it’s done”. Well there are some things that are crazier when you eventually accomplish it. On the positive side, this shows non-conformity, passion, creativity and willpower. Necessary requirements for hard and difficult ground breaking innovations. These attributes can be likened to one man, popular futuristic blogger Tim Urban who blogs at waitbutwhy called him ‘The raddest man on earth’ and I could not agree more. It’s not everyday but often you ask people to evacuate a city due to an impending natural disaster. It’s not everyday but often one tries to swim across the Adriatic Sea without flippers, a total of 139.8 miles for 50 hours 10 minutes and to be awarded a Guinness world record (read about Veljko Rojosic here).
These are quite unimaginable feats. Then what do you think when someone plans to use a whooping $6 billion USD to send a million people to Mars, live there and create a colony by the next thirty years. You should have heard of Elon Musk by now.
Humanity is very famous for always developing and building, but most of these things we do are usually for the good of the Earth though humans are not popular for making the earth healthier what with carbon emissions, ozone depletion and Greta Thunberg’s steady plea to save the environment. No one, as I want to believe, intentionally destroys the health of the Earth. Most of the bad stuff relative to our activity are just repercussions, big ones. These faults in the environment are very much present, only they are slow and taking a long time to accumulate, very likeable to a cancer. Someone just literally ignored the chances of ‘Earth Chemotherapy’ like the Paris Climate accord and Greta Thunberg are seemingly trying to achieve and brought out the red flag of doom. “Evacuate the Earth, it’s going to implode on itself’, That’s what Musk is crying, he and his company Space X to the rest of us and it seems one of us is crazy.
Who is Elon Musk?
As an African, I was intrigued to find out that Elon Musk is from African descent. Born in June 28 1971 South Africa. Elon had always had a knack for innovation and was always daydreaming about inventions right from childhood. An interest In computers and programming got him self taught thus creating his first computer game called Blastar which he eventually sold.
In the course of his early years he created other companies, the first which was Zip2, an online city guide which Compaq bought for $307 million USD and $34 million in stocks. Later in 1999 he founded X.com, a fintech company which led to the creation of the popular Paypal.
The third company and its dynamics is the one of interest, called SpaceX which he founded in 2002.
Elon is also the founder of the popular electric car company, Tesla.
Understanding Elon Musk’s Mission with SpaceX
Elon Musk not only wants to colonize Mars, he wants to make money from it. He’s part doing this because he states that the Earth needs to have a ‘fail safe’ as he put it in the virtual Mars conference:
“If there’s something terrible that happens on earth, either by humans or natural, we want to have like, life insurance for life as a whole”.Elon Musk, Virtual Mars Conference.
The first word at the opening of this statement shows that his actions are based on faith or rather wishful thinking, without facts, without a solid business plan like a disruptive entrepreneur. The whole goal to colonize Mars may or may not happen. Not to note also that the atmosphere of Mars is uninhabitable, he plans to fix this by what he calls Terraforming. Pumping Earth gases into the Martian environment, to make the atmosphere support life and would be kicked off by dropping nuclear bombs on the planet.
The grounds of Elon Musk’s goals are seemingly rooted in science fiction if you look closely at it. No thanks to movies like Terminator and Elysium. SpaceX also plans to monetize interplanetary tourism, note that this is not the first company to do such there are others like Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic. These companies are seriously trying to monetize the cosmos.
Could Elon Musk be right about the earth actually going extinct?
The last mass extinction which occurred 66 million years ago called the Cretaceous-Paleogene event took a total three quarters of life on the earth according to paleontological reports. Abundant fossils have been discovered in the course of time to support this claim. The extinction was linked to an asteroid whose impact crater was discovered along the coast of Mexico.
Now we ask, could another asteroid slam into the earth any time soon? As of now there are no known asteroids incoming with this horrific legacy but there are two asteroids closely placed on alert. The first one missed us, Bennu, which passed safely by on June 4th 2020. The second is Apophis, which has a probability of 2.7% to hit the earth or moon on April 13th 2029.
Extra-terrestrial events are not only the possible means of a mass extinction, we have others like Climate change, global warming that can spark droughts and intense storms. Also, deadly seismic events and biological outbreaks like fastidious and deadly viruses. In these lights, Elon Musk could be right about a mass extinction.
But even if there’s a mass extinction, who gets to be saved by Elon the Messiah?. Going to Mars would definitely be offered to just a group of people. It costs $200,000 to board a spaceX rocket. Don’t even talk about the discomfort of being in a cramped space for months. Instead of investing so heavily into a dreary reality that seems very elusive like the next asteroid strike, or when the next deadly apocalyptic pandemic would occur, why don’t we start with global warming and climate change which has a time frame of effects happening in a few years and not asteroids with a probability of occurring in a billion years time.
So what is the answer to the question?
The answer is more ethical than factual, an extinction event is possible but its chances are slim. Most of these events are just rooted in science fiction. When you hear ‘extinction event’ I can bet you that what flashes across your mind is a Hollywood movie. Elon Musk has his reasons which we can say are quite tangible and we the rest of humanity has our own view point on the whole Mars thing. Here in Africa we have always been victims of very deadly diseases but we are not going extinct anytime soon. It all boils down to understanding what we both stand for, Musk and his Mars colony and the rest of us on the Earth and to hope that Musk is not right. Space exploration has been a daring feat in the past couple of years but it has always been about study and discovery. Elon Musk is bringing a whole new game to the table.
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