Washington, D.C.

Space X's Elon Musk: "I think it would be cool to be born on Earth and die on Mars. Hopefully not at the point of impact."


Ask Space X CEO Elon Musk why he builds rockets, and he'll tell you that the idea all along has been to get to Mars.

Ask him why it's important to go to Mars, and his answer starts in the primordial soup and ends with the declaration that "it's all about making life multiplanetary," as an insurance policy for humanity among other reasons. 

Ask him if he will be making the trip himself, perhaps along with his five kids—tickets, he suggested when pressed, could be on offer 25-30 years from now—Musk said:

"I think it would be cool to be born on Earth and die on Mars. Hopefully not at the point of impact."

Wocka wocka.

You might think it's brave, verging on dumb for a space entrepreneur to make jokes about crash landing on Mars. But last night at a dinner in Washington, D.C., hosted by FutureTense, Musk was actually on good behavior. (Sometimes he is a bit testy.) He smiled and said nice things about NASA—currently his biggest (though not only) client, with about $2 billion in contracts—nice things about Washingtonians, and even some nice things about old-guard space-industrial complex stalwart and competitor Boeing. 

For now, on the 10th anniversary of the founding of Space X, Musk is stil working on getting his reusable Dragon spacecraft bouncing reliably up and down between Earth and space. That long lead time has made him guarded in some ways, leading bold statements like these: 

"Things are proceeding in a way that's not too bad."


"Success is one of the possible outcomes."

For lots more about Musk and his competitors, don't forget to check out Reason's Very Special Space issue.

NEXT: A.M. Links: Mitch McConnell Says Marijuana Can Kill You, Obama Administration to Fire Diplomat for Criticizing Iraq Boondoggle, Afghan President Tells Western Forces to Leave Afghan Villages

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  1. “i think it would be cool to be born on Earth and die on Mars. Hopefully not at the point of impact.”

    Mars would be an awfully bleak place to live or die: no air, no oceans, no indigenous life – just a barren rock. Sure, there would be an immense thrill in setting foot on another planent, but I’d want to come home to earth afterward.

    1. It ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids, either.

      1. Little government control and you get to build a new world. Plus your kids will be loaded if you can get the prime real estate now while it’s free.

      2. I think it would be a mind blowing experience to step onto another planet…

        …especially if it had no breathable atmosphere, no trees or plant life, no water to drink–and no female companionship to be had anywhere?

        Yeah, mind blowing as in “Jesus Christ, what have I done to myself?!”

        1. That’s why you bring a girl with you. Then you’re literally the last man first on Earth Mars. That’s gotta help your odds with her.

          1. You know why men spend ridiculous amounts of money on RVs? It isn’t because they’re fun to drive; it’s because their female companionship won’t go into the “wilderness” unless she can bring proper plumbing with her.

            “Why would you pretend to be homeless?” That’s a lot of guy’s female companionship on Mars–and I got a preview of it right here:


            Mars would be a hell of a lot worse. If it were up to me? I’d go build myself a cabin up in the mountains somewhere, but when you limit your female companionship options to women who like to chop wood, you’re really limiting yourself a small demographic sliver. Supply and demand. You’re limiting yourself on the supply side.

            I’m just sayin’.

            1. You should probably find a better example than Kate Gosselin. If I’m bringing someone to Mars she’s not gonna be a bitch. She might be into low gravity sex though.

              Also, I’m not going to Mars without bring proper plumping either.

      3. Plus side: no public schools!

      4. In fact, it’s cold as hell.


        1. Thank you. I was worried there for a moment that the commentariat was broken.

      5. When I was your age I had to go to school in the middle of a meteor storm, up the gravity well, both ways.

        1. without the fancy rocket boots you kids all wear nowadays.

    2. Mars would be an awfully bleak place to live or die

      I think when the final moment comes, anywhere seems pretty bleak.

      1. I think when the final moment comes, anywhere seems pretty bleak.

        True, it probably doesn’t matter where you are at that moment, but to die on Mars means you’ve spent your last days on an empty rock, preceded by six months in a space capsule. That would be the bleak part.

        But hey, let’s let the market decide: if you can ever click the ‘Trip to Mars’ option at the Make a Wish Foundation’s website, then Mr. Musk will have been right all along.

  2. Happy 10th to SpaceX. Go, baby, go!

    I’m thinking about going to see the Dragon/Falcon 9 launch in April.

    1. I’ll see you there.

    2. I might be at a later one, when the satellite I worked on for grad school gets launched.

  3. I think it might be cool for about a week and then living on Mars or the Moon after that would seriously Bah-Low.

    1. Which is why I want a vacation home on the moon. Spend two weeks, come home.

      Fuck it, if we’re going to subsidize flood & hurricane prone coastal real estate for every yobbo who wants a beach vacation, I want my moon home subsidized.

      1. Just because we subsidize coastal real estate doesn’t mean we have to add insult to injury by subsidzing someone who wants to build in an asteroid impact zone.

        1. what about subsidizing my house ON an impact asteroid?

  4. Butr last night at a dinner in Washington, D.C., hosted by FutureTense, Musk was actually on good behavior

    1. KMW clearly doesn’t read the comments as thoroughly as Lucy.

  5. James Bond will make sure you die before you can construct your evil lair on Mars, Mr. Musk. After sexing up your lady assassin, Tunz O’Cooch.

  6. Going to Mars would mean being stuck in a tiny enclosed space with the same people for months on end.

    Someone would die before reaching the planet.

  7. I nominate White Indian for the trip.

    Plenty of room to gambol on Mars.

    1. Plenty of room to gambol on Mars.

      And all the free ammonia gas (or whatever the fuck they have on Mars) you can breathe without The Man there to keep you down.

      1. seriously, ammonia? you’re not even trying.

  8. First earthling to die on another planet is unexampled; plus you’re forever a trivia

  9. “Elon Musk: A Scent for the Twenty First Century”

  10. Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise a kid.

  11. One of my goals is a ranch on Mars. Thousands of acres, growing Mars fungus and raising Mars buffalo. So we need to accelerate the terraforming plans a bit.

    1. couldn’t your fungus farm be part of the terraforming process?

      1. I ain’t got time to breed.

    2. I think there’s a market in rebreathers for Yaks or whatever type of cud-chewer can take the coldest temperatures.

      1. Air pressure is super low too.

        1. Maybe giant pressurized domes?

          1. i’m thinking compressors, just run the yaks like a bouncy castle.

          2. Quonset huts! A form of architecture that somebody should bring back.

          3. In Orson Welles did Pro-Lib Khan
            A stately Pressure Dome decree
            Where Shalbatana Vallis ran
            Through strata long denied to man
            To the Plain of SugarFree

            1. Love it. Chief Hand-Poet is still open.

              1. db was going to write more, but the doorbell rang.

                1. If you want me to finish it I’ll need some Mars opium.

                  1. some Mars opium

                    how about some Mars-ipan.

                  2. Soon as my ranch is out there operating without any decent restraint.

      2. great ideas on the breathing and temperature issues.

        how do we go about radiation-hardening the yaks? GM their fur somehow?

        1. Why radiation harden them? They’ll mutate! We’ll have super space yaks!

          Plus, a tumor cooks up just like the rest of the yak.

        2. Wrap them in aluminum foil?

          1. ready for cooking.

            not sure if that would provide much shielding though.

          2. They’re tough, give them yak versions of those lead vests you wear at the dentist’s office.

            1. Yakronauts.

              1. LOL.

            2. That does have the added advantage of keeping them from going all John Carter on you when you’re driving them to the south 40.

              1. They make like maybe 2 decent budget scifi movies a year and that’s what they went with?

                1. I know! Especially when Planet of the Yaks is available.

    3. The next time you are on Mars, try to look a Mars chicken in the eye with great intensity.

      1. Herzog is going to be my ranch foreman. He’s already agreed.

  12. very hard to go to Mars with a Soyuz-class rocket and capsule like the Falcon-9 and the Dragon …

  13. I am very disappointed to read that Armstrong is against the private sector in rocketry. I thought he was a better american than that. NASA has held us back these last 20+ years simply because its run by our fascist government. Private industry would have Mars colony landings by now.

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