Elon Musk, the world’s richest person, has suggested that a $100,000 SpaceX ticket to Mars would be affordable for “almost anyone.”
Given that many people are currently struggling to heat their homes or fill their gas tanks, some have suggested that this price tag is a little lofty for the vast majority of Earth-bound humans. Aside from these comments from the billionaire’s ivory tower, Musk may need to improve his sales pitch to make living and working on Mars sound more attractive.
In an interview with Chris Anderson, the head of TED, the founder and CEO of SpaceX discussed one of his favorite topics: a mission to build a self-sustaining city on Mars.
“If moving to Mars costs, for argument’s sake, $100,000, then I think almost anyone can work and save up and eventually have $100,000 and be able to go to Mars if they want,” Musk said.
“We want to make it available to anyone who wants to go.”
Musk added that while many people may choose to purchase their ticket through a sponsorship program or a loan, he estimates that only a small percentage of humanity will want to take the journey.
Musk believes that a self-sustaining Martian city would require approximately 1 million people to live and work there. He aspires to have a fleet of 1,000 Starships capable of delivering 100 or so people to our planetary neighbor every 2.2 years when the journey is most cost-effective.
According to his most recent estimate, made in March 2022, humans will first set foot on Mars in 2029, a date pushed back from his previous prediction of 2024. If everything goes as planned, Musk believes his vision of massive fleets to Mars could begin in the 2030s. It remains to be seen whether SpaceX will meet this extremely lofty goal.
Regardless of the exact date, don’t expect first-class travel if you’re planning on making history as one of the first humans on Mars.
“Especially in the beginning, Mars will not be luxurious,” he said.
“The sales pitch for going to Mars is: ‘It’s dangerous, it’s cramped, you might not make it back, it’s difficult, it’s hard work.’ That’s the sales pitch,” Musk said.
“But,” he laughed, “it will be glorious.”