SpaceX: Neil deGrasse Tyson Says Elon Musk Planet Hopping Could Reduce Wars
Elon Musk’s plans for an interplanetary transport system could “evaporate” a “whole category of war,” according to astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. The SpaceX CEO aims to develop a rocket capable of landing on other planets, refueling and continuing even further into space. Tyson claimed that this makes him more important than former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
In an interview with CNBC published Tuesday, Tyson said that Musk “is thinking about society, culture, how we interact, what forces need to be in play to take civilization into the next century. It has to do with transportation, with space exploration. Why? Because there’s unlimited resources in space. Resources on earth that we fight wars over. In space, you have no need to fight a war, just go to another asteroid and get your resources. A whole category of war has the potential of evaporating entirely with the exploitation of space resources, which includes the unlimited access to energy as well.”
Musk is notably cool on the idea of asteroid mining. In an October 2003 video, Musk described space mining as “pretty bogus,” stating that “if you calculate how much it takes to bring…the raw material back to earth, the economics don’t make sense,” before pressing for a “self-sustained civilization” on the moon or Mars as a “trillion-dollar” opportunity. Tyson, on the other hand, claimed in 2015 that “the first trillionaire there will ever be is the person who exploits the natural resources on asteroids.”
Whatever Musk’s plans for the SpaceX transport system, it could have a huge effect on space exploration. The BFR, this week renamed to the Starship and Super Heavy, will use liquid oxygen and methane as propellant, enabling humans to set up propellant mining facilities on planets to act as pit stops, ready to continue journeys. Musk said in September that “there’s so many things that make people sad or depressed about the future, but I think becoming a space-faring civilization is one of those things that makes you excited about the future.”
SpaceX’s big project is scheduled to perform hop tests at the Boca Chica facility in Texas sometime next year. Once complete, it could pave the way for a manned mission to Mars.
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