Elon Musk recently said that the true test of his major plans to colonize Mars is simple: Will a human settlement on Mars survive if new resources and people from Earth eventually stop coming to the Red Planet?
The reason for Musk’s speculation links with his expressed worldview about the future of humankind. There are a lot of factors at play in what could sound like a simple comment.
“The acid test, really, is, if the ships from Earth stop coming from any reason, does Mars die out?” Musk told interviewer Robert Zubrin during the livestreamed event. “For any reason. It could be banal, or it could be nuclear armageddon,” he added.
Let’s unpack some of the questions this open-ended comment raises. First, Musk recently also said that he expects many Mars settlers will die during the process of traveling to and settling on Mars in the longer term. That’s a common theme, from imperialist settlements like Jamestown or Roanoke to the explorers who first crossed Antarctica or sailed across the Pacific Ocean.
Read more: Popular Mechanics