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Billionaire Wants To Colonise Mars With A Million People

01/10/2014 10:12 BST | Updated 01/10/2014 10:59 BST

Billionaire inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk has expanded on his view that humans need to start living on Mars warning that unless we move a population of at least a million people the human race could face extinction.

Speaking in an interview with Aeon Magazine the owner of Tesla and founder of the Space X program admitted that while the task at hand would be gargantuan it was one that needed to be taking seriously.

"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,"

mars one

So how does one even comprehend the task of putting a million people on another planet? As Musk points out, the numbers are going to be big no matter how you look at it.

"Excluding organic growth, if you could take 100 people at a time, you would need 10,000 trips to get to a million people,"

"But you would also need a lot of cargo to support those people. In fact, your cargo to person ratio is going to be quite high. It would probably be 10 cargo trips for every human trip, so more like 100,000 trips. And we’re talking 100,000 trips of a giant spaceship."

As founder of the Space X program Musk has been advocating the development of cheaper and safer space travel.

He won a major victory when Space X won a contract with NASA to build a crew transport ship for the International Space Station for $2.5bn (incidentally half the amount that Boeing has asked for).

Musk believes this frugal approach to space travel should (and can) be just as easily applied to Mars.

"Well, we are sending probes, and they are very expensive probes, by the way. They aren’t exactly bargain-basement. The last RC car we sent to Mars cost more than $3 billion. That’s a hell of a droid. For that kind of money, we should be able to send a lot of people to Mars."