Elon Musk’s goal has been to get to Mars, and he has become rich and famous for his contributions to science. Although he has had some fun along the way and is actually taking up the role as host on Saturday Night Live in the near future, there’s not much to laugh at with his recent words on future fatalities that may occur on his way to getting the human race to Mars. The billionaire and future SNL host has now openly acknowledged the possibility of deaths occurring on any future missions to Mars.
Elon Musk has been known to throw around a joke or two, seeing as the lineup of his famous Tesla car models basically spells out “Sexy Car” in what is probably the most expensive joke ever made. However, his recent insight into the dangers of the Mars missions he is working towards are no laughing matter. In an interview with XPRIZE, he owns up to the facts that there will probably be “a bunch” of fatalities in the beginning, saying:
You might die. It’s going to be uncomfortable. You probably won’t have good food. And all these things. An arduous and dangerous journey where you may not come back alive, but it’s a glorious adventure… Honestly, a bunch of people probably will die in the beginning.
While that sounds horrifying, I would almost say that it is a given in the dangerous nature of what Elon Musk is trying to accomplish. While your everyday person may not know the exact dangers and obstacles a real life astronaut on a groundbreaking mission must be, we have plenty of films to be able to form some kind of an idea of what could happen on a mission to Mars, even if based on Hollywood science rather than anything from NASA.
After all, we have a whole genre of films dedicated to horrors that can be encountered in space, and a lot of films about space exploration don’t even touch on what can go wrong mechanically or physically with a rocket launch and the people inside of it. While it may get to the point where commuting via rocket is normal, the first few trips to Mars will definitely be full of danger and unknown obstacles.
If this was enough to make you say a big “no thanks” to space travel, you aren’t alone. However, there are plenty of people who aren’t put off by the possibility - or even probability - of dying in the process. The space crew going to Mars would only be made up of volunteers, and Elon Musk undoubtedly has plenty ready to go.
That number may start to decrease once more information comes out about the dangers of the trip, but I honestly don't think it's likely. The people who want to go are probably just like Elon Musk in that they have a dream of space exploration. Even though death is a very real possibility, there will always be those who hold their dreams in a place worth risking all for, and it sounds like these are just the passionate people that Musk will need for such an important mission to humankind.