With SpaceX launching Falcon Heavy, Elon Musk is working to build a future to industrialize outer space and commercialize space travel. His vision, in part, is to save humanity if another dark age strikes. Speaking at the South by Southwest Conference, Musk shared his plans to preserve human civilization if another world war rolls on Earth. Musk has been working towards his vision to build a self-sustaining colony on Mars that will be populating a million humans over the course of 40 to 100 years. He believes that a human base on Mars is more likely to survive than a Moon base, considering its distance from earth. He speculates, if a World War III kicks off, there should be a protected seed of human civilization that can revive the human population on Earth.
Musk is also concerned about Artificial Intelligence being more dangerous than nuclear weapons. He believes machines that can think for themselves could bring down humanity, and therefore the AI technology should be regulated for advancements. However, Musk is not just musing about the perils of technology but also gearing up to develop a basic infrastructure life on Mars. Glass domes, power stations and an array of basic fundamental services for the living will be required to ignite the entrepreneurship opportunity on the Red Planet. He believes that pizza joints and nightclubs are equally important as iron foundries.
SpaceX has been catching and reusing rockets and now Musk wants to see rockets take short flights in the first half of next year. His next big focus is building the BFR, an interplanetary spaceship that will bring humanity to Mars. He is expecting that BFR will be able to launch test flights by early 2019. Musk admits that his timelines can be a little too optimistic but early 2019 seems realistic to follow the plan of sending first SpaceX cargo to Mars through BFR by 2022. A crewed mission is meant to follow two years later, by 2024. A BFR flight will cost around $5 to $6 million range, which is less than the initial Falcon 1 flights.
Elon Musk is hoping that if BFR launches successfully, it will open up doors for other companies and countries to up their game. Once BFR is built, it will be proven that traveling to Mars is a possibility and others will likely follow suit.