Elon Musk has called for humans to build a "permanently occupied base on the Moon".
The billionaire – who recently regained his status as the world’s richest person – believes that it’s only by expanding civilisation to other planets that we will escape the fate of the dinosaurs, being wiped out by some global catastrophe.
And so it’s no surprise that he’s encouraging China to build a permanent manned Moon base.
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Yuqi Qian is a planetary scientist from the China University of Geosciences. He’s currently researching suitable landing sites for China’s space exploration programme – and his first job is to identify the perfect place for China’s 2029 Moon mission to touch down.
Yuqi posted an update on his progress to Twitter, showing parts of the spacecraft that China hopes to send to the moon by the end of this decade.
And of course anything space-related on Twitter is sure to attract the attention of the man who runs it, as well as SpaceX.
In response to Yuqi’s proud statement that “Two Chinese astronauts will land on the Moon in 2029,” Musk replied: “High time humanity built a permanently occupied base on the Moon."
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As recently as last summer, Musk was speaking of his wildly ambitious plan to establish a colony on Mars by 2050.
His “Battlestar Galactica” plan involved sending thousands of colonists to Mars with 1,000 of his giant SpaceX “Starship” spacecraft.
The first launch, he promised, would take place in 2028, with further launches every time that the orbits of Earth and Mars brought them relatively close together.
The most important thing, he told TED Talks boss Chris Anderson, is to make the colony self-sustaining as quickly as possible.
The “critical threshold,” he explained, “is if the ships from Earth stop coming for any reason”.
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If civilisation on Earth were to break down due to some catastrophe or a comet strike, his dream is that the tiny fragment of humanity on Mars would continue.
“I think this is important for maximising the probable lifespan of humanity or consciousness,” he said, adding that the “probable lifespan of civilizational consciousness as we know it” is like a “small candle in the vast darkness” of the universe—and those “delicate” candles “could just go out.”
He added that life on the Final Frontier would be tough. Life on Mars, he said “especially in the beginning, will not be luxurious.”
It will be “dangerous, cramped, difficult, hard work,” he warned, and “you might not make it back”.
But, he promised: “it’ll be glorious.”
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