Out of all the planets in our home galaxy, humans are lucky enough to live on one that is perfect for life. The Earth does have some risks, though.
A blog post by Tim Urban called How (and Why) SpaceX Will Colonize Mars says that he is so worried that he thinks we need to leave Earth and become a species that lives on more than one planet as soon as possible. Musk’s idea is easy to understand. When the next big asteroid comes our way, maybe we’ll have the tools to protect the Earth or turn the space rock away. But if it’s something worse, like a nearby star exploding, we might all be wiped out.
Musk says we can’t wait around to find out what will happen. Urban gives us another way to think about it in his article: Imagine Earth as a hard drive, and every species as a Word document saved on that hard drive. At least five times, the hard drive has crashed, and each time, it loses a big chunk of those documents (species being vanished).
So you can think of the human race as a very important document made on that hard drive: “Now, if you had a hard drive with a very important Excel file on it, and you knew that the hard drive usually crashed every month or two, with the most recent crash happening five weeks ago, what would be the most obvious thing to do? You would put a copy of the document on another hard drive.”
That’s why Musk is so set on going to Mars: it could become humanity’s backup drive.
Musk doesn’t just want to send a few colonists to Mars; he wants to send 1 million people to the red planet. If we want something like the industry and things we’ve built here on Earth, as well as a wide range of genes, we’ll need at least that many people to make sure everything works well. Musk is said to have told Urban that this is the only way for our species to stay alive on Mars.
Musk plans to show, through his rocket company SpaceX, a spaceship that can take up to 100 people at once to Mars by the end of this year.