All Eyes On Musk
On September 27, all eyes (or at least many eyes) will be on Guadalajara, Mexico as Elon Musk delivers a speech at the annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC). Will Musk finally discuss his plans to colonize Mars, which he claims can be done within the next 10 years? We don't really know for sure. But what we do know is that he will discuss something related to that in an hour-long talk entitled "Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species."
The official program for the 2016 IAC notes that Musk will "discuss the long-term technical challenges that need to be solved to support the creation of a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars. The technical presentation will focus on potential architectures for colonizing the Red Planet that industry, government, and the scientific community can collaborate on in the years ahead.”
Considering All Options
Elon Musk has been very vocal about his continuing belief that the Earth can no longer be considered humanity's only option for existence. His space exploration venture company SpaceX has been continually working on projects to this effect, or at least ones aimed to successfully send people to space, and the company has plans to send robots to Mars by 2018.
In 2013, Musk famously expressed his concerns about the need to leave Earth sooner or later, saying, "Either we spread Earth to other planets, or we risk going extinct. An extinction event is inevitable, and we’re increasingly doing ourselves in. The goal is to improve rocket technology and space technology until we can send people to Mars and establish life on Mars.”
SpaceX, of course, is not the only institution active in the cause. NASA continues work on its Space Launch System rocket and plans to successfully send humans on orbital missions to the Red Planet by 2033, a considerably modest target compared to SpaceX's 2026.
Whatever the case may be, the need to find a backup planet for humans before the Earth becomes uninhabitable, whether that's in the next ten years or 10 billion years, is becoming more and more evident.
You can catch a live stream of "Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species." The talk is scheduled for Tuesday, September 27, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. CST.