¹Elon Musk Says We Need to Live in Glass Domes Before We Can Terraform Mars

1st December, 2021.      //   General Interest, Space Travel, Technology, Uncategorized  // 


Earlier this week, SpaceX founder Elon Musk explained on Twitter that in order to colonize Mars, we would have to support “life in glass domes at first” before we “eventually, terraformed [Mars] to support life, like Earth.”

Musk, as has been well established, wants to realize his dream of making humans a multiplanetary species and build the first colony on Mars by 2050. To make the Red Planet habitable for life, Musk has previously suggested terraforming Mars by nuking the planet’s ice-capped poles. But now, perhaps after realizing such a plan would require nearly the entire world’s supply of nuclear warheads to accomplish, Musk is taking a more sensible approach to colonization.

Musk continued in the same thread:

“Terraforming will be too slow to be relevant in our lifetime. However, we can establish a human base there in our lifetime. At least a future spacefaring civilization – discovering our ruins – will be impressed humans got that far.”

This may be a good pivot for Musk, because the science isn’t exactly on his side. Studies have shown that even with the right firepower, there simply isn’t enough of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide available on Mars to create an atmosphere capable of supporting life on the surface.

This isn’t the first time Musk has mentioned using glass domes as habitats on the Red Planet. In a 2016 Reddit AMA, Musk said glass panes with carbon fiber frames could be used to build geodesic domes on the Martian surface, while mining droids could build pressurized caves underground for industrial operations.

More recently, Musk laid out his plans to build a city on Mars in a livestream event last month. He stressed the idea of a Martian colony being fully self-sufficient in case support from mothership Earth would somehow be cut off.

“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 event. “For any reason. It could be banal, or it could be nuclear armageddon,” he added.

In the interview, Musk claimed a fully self-sustaining city would need around 1 million inhabitants and require 1 million tons of cargo. But if Musk plans to transport that much cargo, he’s going to need a bigger ship.

SpaceX is currently developing its next generation of reusable rocket, dubbed the Starship. The fully-reusable spaceship is designed to carry 150 tons or 100 people into orbit and have the capability of refueling in space. Starship uses the powerful Raptor Vacuum engine, which is specifically designed to operate in the vacuum of space and use fuels that can be refined on Mars.

Musk has said one of the first colonization missions to Mars would carry equipment to build a refueling station on the surface, with Starship acting as an initial habitat. Musk claimed in the livestream that the first crewed Starship missions could launch as early as 2026. Although a prototype of the spacecraft recently completed a successful 500-foot hop, the experimental rocket has a history of going boom.

If Musk does accomplish his dream, who can tell what life may be like on Mars’s first colony? But based on Musk’s previous sentiments, it may look a lot like the Wild West. When asked in the same Twitter thread about what laws and society might exist on the new Martian colony, Musk replied, “Let the Martians decide their own future.”


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