We Have a "Duty" to Explore Space, Says Elon Musk

Illustration for article titled We Have a Duty to Explore Space, Says Elon Musk

Does humanity deserve to survive, after all the harm we've done? This is one of the main issues tackled in a fascinating interview with Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX. published today in Aeon magazine. Musk has a pretty eloquent answer.

Image via SpaceX

Ross Anderson wrote about meeting Musk at his SpaceX offices. While discussing Musk's plans to put a million people on Mars, the billionaire space industrialist tells Anderson:

I think there is a strong humanitarian argument for making life multi-planetary, in order to safeguard the existence of humanity in the event that something catastrophic were to happen, in which case being poor or having a disease would be irrelevant, because humanity would be extinct. It would be like, "Good news, the problems of poverty and disease have been solved, but the bad news is there aren't any humans left."

It's funny. Not everyone loves humanity. Either explicitly or implicitly, some people seem to think that humans are a blight on the Earth's surface. They say things like, "Nature is so wonderful; things are always better in the countryside where there are no people around." They imply that humanity and civilisation are less good than their absence. But I'm not in that school. I think we have a duty to maintain the light of consciousness, to make sure it continues into the future.


Read the whole article at Aeon

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Brian Burns

It's our duty to explore that space booty.

But joking aside, this guy holds to ideology that I oppose, so it is hard for me to take him seriously. I heard a long interview with him on NPR the other day. He made some valid points about the new for new and original innovation rather than just the incremental steps we make with digital tech these days. I agree. But then he starts to argue that capitalism and commerce are the real cure for humanity and basically starts to argue for a sort of technocratic fascism but quickly backtracks saying that only applies to business, not politics. Basically, this is the sort of dude who writes erotic fan fiction starring Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman with himself as Lucky Pierre. His thoughts on setting up a permanent self sustaining city on Mars within ten years are as laughable as his honest fears that some rouge AI will soon develop and kill us all, because you know as a logical machine, it only makes sense to kill the only beings who can reboot your system and repair your hardware