Elon Musk makes surprise visit to SXSW - Talks Mars ship progress

Jo Lloyd
March 12, 2018

When asked on a timeline on when this will all be possible, he said his time frames are usually perceived as "optimistic", but SpaceX is now building the first interplanetary ship and he expects "short up-and-down flights" as early as next year.

In addition to detailing his lofty ambitions, the SpaceX CEO warned those who are eager to make the journey to the Red Planet there is a "good chance" they could die.

He went on: "Although sometimes, my timelines are a little, you know..."

Elon Musk's surprise SXSW talk this morning was a heavy and grave affair, full of discussion around all the ways humanity may be doomed in the future: from carbon in the atmosphere, World War III, and above all, runaway artificial intelligence.

More pressing to Mr Musk, and the investors that enable him, might be the backlog of orders for the Model 3, Tesla's "affordable" new auto. The company's Falcon Heavy rocket, which enjoyed a historic inaugural launch last month, was initially promised a 2013 debut.

A Mars colony is a pressing matter, in Mr Musk's eyes, if we are to ensure the survival of the human race. At the event, Mr Musk painted a picture of what he felt such a society would need to look like in order to be a success. Yet Musk took his time in Austin to give the audience another wake-up call regarding a threat no amount of climate change measures or anti-war rhetoric can help. "Once we have it, we'll have a sort of point of proof, something that other countries and companies will go and do".

"They will start off building a rudimentary base. then this will open up a world of new opportunities, because Mars will need pizza joints, great bars - Mars Bars", he said. In the long-term, the billionaire space entrepreneur whose plans include making human life multi-planetary, intends to make Starlink a communication bridge between Earth and colonized Mars. He added, "Mark my words, AI is far more unsafe than nukes".

"Nobody would suggest that we allow anyone to just build nuclear warheads if they want, that would be insane". "It kind of reads like (Ernest) Shackleton's ad for Antarctic explorers: hard, dangerous, good chance you'll die".

Artist's rendering of USA astronaut planting a flag on Mars.

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