Elon Musk’s Mars city needs to learn just one vital lesson
“I just have no idea what people will decide to do when they get to another planet.”
Elon Musk wants to unlock humanity’s sci-fi potential. Using an app with only your mind? Musk has that covered with Neuralink. Cars that drive themselves? He’s working on it with Tesla. Putting those very self-driving cars in tunnels? Sure, he’s on that too.
But Musk’s most ambitious goal comes in the form of SpaceX, which has big plans to build a million-strong, self-sustaining city on the red planet by 2050. The only problem is how his Mars City’s government would work.
Here’s a quick rundown of what’s been established about your legal rights as a Mars citizen:
- The 1967 Outer Space Treaty says that your country is responsible for what gets launched into space — so spaceships launched from the United States answer to the United States
- SpaceX’s Starlink terms of service declare Mars is a “free planet” where no Earth-based government has control over its authority
- SpaceX’s former general counsel David Anderman argued in Musk Reads+ #97 that the city might need to declare access to basic resources like air and water
- Musk argued in 2018 that a direct democracy could make sense for the small settlement
Want to know more about how giving birth is a problem, how tips from 1612 could help out settlers in 3012, and whether you could brave the lowest temperatures on Mars? Read the full interview with writer Greg Bear, only in MUSK READS+.
SpaceX Mars City: 13 colonies
Science fiction writer Greg Bear, who previously participated in the National Space Society that advocates for greater access to space, tells Inverse that the first settlers will be “free thinkers.” They will have to come up with their own solutions for government, and as free thinkers in a strange new world, they may have radically different ideas.
“I keep changing my tune on this,” he says. “I just have no idea what people will decide to do when they get to another planet, especially a very difficult planet like Mars.”
It’s a question Bear has considered for a long time. His 1993 novel Moving Mars looks at a future Mars society governed by Earth in the interests of its corporations. An independence movement emerges over the course of generations.
Bear argues that, similar to Moving Mars, the early United States could offer lessons for the future city...
Here is what you will gain from subscribing to MUSK READS+:
- Three emails per week, enabling fans to go deeper into the week’s stories.
- Original interviews and reporting, longform analysis, previews, and recaps of major events, including earnings calls and more.
- Community-focused extras like responses to reader mail, an upcoming event calendar, and notable anniversaries.
- An archive of previous subscriber-only content, so you can easily read back over what you might have missed.
- Promotional deals and offers.
- Supporting original, independent journalism.
MUSK READS+ is a fully independent operation. We are not Elon Musk, nor are we employed by him. Our job is to report the events we find important, giving you the inside look at the worlds of space rockets, electric cars, clean energy, and more. It means first-hand accounts of a SpaceX rocket launch, Tesla insights from third-party analysts, and more.
If you want to support us in our mission, and receive original interviews and analysis, consider contributing with a subscription.