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Elon Musk says a base on the moon and a city on Mars is the next ‘logical step’ for humanity

Mr Musk also said that the space industry should ‘consider the next step beyond space stations’

Adam Smith
Friday 21 May 2021 13:22 BST
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Elon Musk has said the next logical step for humanity’s development in space is a permanent base on the moon and a city on Mars.

The SpaceX CEO made the comments via video link to a forum in Russia, during a Kremlin-sponsored event that could result in a Tesla factory in the country.

Mr Musk said that the space industry should “consider the next step beyond space stations”, Reuters reported.

Earlier this month, SpaceX successfully launched and landed a Starship rocket for the first time without it exploding, a major milestone in humanity’s progress towards the Red Planet.

SpaceX had also secured a $3 billion contract with Nasa to further develop Starship in order to return humans to the Moon by 2024.

A potential Mars landing could be achieved as early as 2024 or 2026, Mr Musk predicts, in the hopes of eventually creating a self-sustaining colony on the Red Planet by 2050.

The billionaire believes that terraforming - blasting the planet with nuclear weapons at its poles to cause the ice caps to melt and induce accelerated warming – will be a key component to live on other planets.

“Life in glass domes at first. Eventually, terraformed to support life, like Earth,” he said.

“Terraforming will be too slow to be relevant in our lifetime. However, we can establish a human base their in our lifetime. At least a future spacefaring civilization – discovering our ruins – will be impressed humans got that far."

Mr Musk’s ambitions could stretch as far as setting up the first Martian government.

A line of the company’s satellite internet service Starlink user agreement reads: “For services provided on Mars, or in transit to Mars via Starship or other colonisation spacecraft, the parties recognise Mars as a free planet and that no Earth-based government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities”.

While Musk’s contracts might not be legally binding, they are likely to start a conversation about how legislators should go about planning for a Mars constitution.

David Anderman, SpaceX’s general counsel, has said that said he expects SpaceX to “impose our own legal regime,” but that it would be “interesting to see how it plays out with terrestrial governments exerting control."

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