Elon Musk wants to build a city on Mars, but German director Werner Herzog is not convinced, to say the least.
In an interview with Inverse in November 2020, the film director heavily criticized Musk's plans, which he described as "an obscenity." Herzog roundly dismissed the SpaceX CEO's idea to establish a self-sustaining city on Mars by 2050 as a "mistake."
Inverse is counting down the 20 most universe-altering moments of 2020. This is number 11. See the full list here.
Musk's space-faring firm SpaceX is currently developing the Starship rocket, a stainless steel ship designed to ferry humans to Mars and beyond. SpaceX aims to send the first crewed ships to the red planet around the mid-2020s. In December, a Starship prototype set a new flight record when it soared to a height of 41,000 feet before exploding.
So far so good, as far as Herzog is concerned. The director told Inverse he believes going to Mars to further scientific knowledge about the planet is a good idea — but it's what happens after the initial scientific investigation that Herzog can't stomach.
Musk wants to gradually build out the initial base on Mars to eventually support a city of one million people. The city would ostensibly help protect humanity from catastrophic events, ensuring there is somewhere beyond Earth humans can continue to thrive as a species.
"I disagree with him when he postulates and preaches about colonizing Mars," Herzog said at the time. "And I have to tell not only Elon Musk, but everyone. And so I say it as straightforward as it can be... it is an obscenity. The thought alone is an obscenity."
He went on to declare that humanity should "not be like the locusts," leaving a planet after it has been destroyed by humans.
"Our century very quickly will bring to an end technological utopia like colonizing Mars," Herzog said.
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Musk has faced questions like these before. Chinese billionaire Jack Ma told Musk in 2019 that Earth "needs more heroes...improving things every day." Musk responded by stating that "I think it's important for us to take the set of actions that are most likely to continue consciousness into the future"
The Starship's most recent flight sets it well on the path to supporting SpaceX's future missions, like a trip around the moon and a mission to Mars. Herzog is not against these missions and even suggested in the interview that he'd like to take a camera and film crew to explore the planet.
But when it comes to the Mars city, Musk can count Herzog out.
Inverse is counting down the 20 most universe-altering moments of 2020. This is number 11. Read the original story here.