Who's Up for Mars?

The headline over at i09 is a fun one:

Your ticket to Mars will cost only half a million dollars 
You could go to Mars for just half a million bucks. That, at least, is the latest big proclamation from SpaceX entrepreneur and private spaceflight pioneer Elon Musk, who says a round-trip to Mars could be within reach of the "average" person in as little as 30 to 50 years.

If Elon Musk says he can open up commercial travel to Mars in 50 years, I'm inclined to listen respectfully at the very least. I'm hoping it's closer to 30. Failing any radical developments in life extension between now and then, I'll be pushing 80 in 30 years (and I'd best not even think about where I'll be in 50.)

So "faster, please" as the man says. But our intrepid i09 reporter identifies another potential problem over and above whether one might or might not "live to see it," as the other man says:
Of course, let's clarify a couple of key points there right away. For the purposes of this discussion, the average person needs to have $500,000 available to spend on the trip. Considering the median household income in the United States is currently about $50,000 per year, Musk's definition of an average person may be a little different from, well, reality's.
Okay, well first off -- are we talking 2012 dollars, 2042 dollars or 2062 dollars? If it's 2062 dollars, then I think (based on how this stuff has panned out in the past) that it's entirely possible that the median household income will be $500,000 per year by then. Now the median household annual income is still quite a bit to pay for one trip, but this is a kind of a big trip after all.

Plus, this calculation doesn't even take the whole Abundance thing into consideration. By 2062 we might be printing out individual (or family-size) spaceships to Mars in our (palatial) garages. Of course, by 2062 we may be post-Singularity, with many of us well into full Sexy Immortal Billionaires with Superpowers mode.

In which case, we might not even need the spaceship.


  1. I'm glad he's confident. His credibility will be increased once he's become the chief launcher to the ISS (which could happen this year), and has returned us to the Moon (which could happen within a decade).


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