Today, noted space cadet (in every sense of the phrase) Elon Musk revealed his plan to colonise Mars. He also basically told us to prepare to die for him. Cool idea, Elon! Image: AP
"The risk of fatality will be high," Musk told the audience in Guadalajara, Mexico, of the SpaceX mission to the Red Planet. "There's no way around it. It would be basically, are you prepared to die? If that's OK, you're a candidate for going." He added, "The probability of death is quite high on the first mission." As if the all-consuming cold hug that is death was not something humans have been conditioned to fear for our entire existence.
This wasn't Musk's only reference to the inevitable descent into nothing, however. He also noted at the very beginning of his presentation — presumably to warm up the audience — that we pretty much have two options as a society.
"I don't have an immediate doomsday prophecy," he said at the beginning of the talk. (Are you lying, Elon?) "One path is to stay on Earth forever, and there will be some extinction event. The alternative is to become a multi-planetary species, which I hope you will agree is the right way to go."
"Some extinction event." Lovely!
Musk also alluded to his own fallibility, noting that he'd have to leave the company in good hands before doing anything crazy and potentially life-threatening — like going to Mars himself.
Well, at least Musk is lumping himself somewhere into the death pool.