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Elon Musk says digging tunnels under cities is a 'low stress activity'

  • Elon Musk says everyone expects Boring Company to fail
  • Suggested tunneling on Earth could help its plans for Mars colony

Elon Musk says his plan to dig tunnels under Los Angeles is a "low stress activity" because "everyone expects it to fail."

Musk was at the International Space Station (ISS) Research & Development Conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, where he also said the knowledge they gain from tunneling under Los Angeles might be useful in developing digging technology for mining ice and minerals on Mars.

Musk hopes to send a SpaceX lander within the next few years to the Red planet. Though Earth and Mars are extremely different, there may be some lessons that can carry over.

As SpaceX has found clever ways of reducing the cost of launching rockets into space, the Boring Company will aim to reduce the currently prohibitive costs of tunneling.

Musk said money can be saved by reducing the diameter of the tunnels — they would only need to be large enough to fit cars and trucks — increasing the speed of the boring machine, and reducing machine downtime.

Despite skepticism, Musk said on Twitter in June that he had had a "promising" meeting with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti about securing permits for his planned subterranean streets.

He later said the machine has begun working at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.