Mars or Bust: Elon Musk’s 20-Year Countdown to Space Civilization

April 8, 2024
1 min read
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Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, shared profound insights on the continuity of human civilization on the social platform X. He posted that if humanity successfully evolves into an interstellar species, our civilization could last for millions of years; otherwise, it might only last a few centuries. He added that civilization needs to maintain its current technological level until Mars can become self-sufficient, which he believes could be achieved within 20 years.

Musk is vocal about his ambitious Mars colonization plan in September 2016, envisioning the construction of a self-sufficient human city on Mars, which is 225 million kilometers from Earth. 

In March of this year, SpaceX conducted the third test flight of its Starship, which successfully executed a second engine ignition 47 minutes after launch, marking another milestone in the Starship test program.

However, during re-entry into the atmosphere, Starship lost signal at an altitude of 65 kilometers, and the live feed showed it plummeting. It was initially planned to crash into the Indian Ocean.

According to SpaceX’s previous descriptions, the Starship spacecraft will refuel in Earth orbit and successfully land on Mars. Musk hopes Starship will transport significant materials to Mars to lay a solid foundation for building a self-sufficient “Mars City.”


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SpaceX envisions Starship as a reusable transport system capable of carrying people and cargo to Earth orbit, aiding human return to the Moon, and traveling to Mars and beyond.

His ultimate plan is even more ambitious: to build 1,000 interplanetary rockets and launch three per day, eventually transporting one million people to Mars. This grand vision not only showcases the endless possibilities of human space exploration but also provides a new perspective on the continuation of civilization.

Musk has previously predicted that humans could land on Mars by 2029 and expressed a personal desire to die on Mars, stating it would be “cool” to be “born on Earth and buried on Mars.

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