Entrepreneurs

Elon Musk: This is why we have to build civilizations in space

Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Elon Musk, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tesla Inc.

Human civilization is likely the only advanced civilization in the “observable Universe," finds a study from the the Future of Humanity Institute (FHI) at Oxford University — and that's why it's so important that humans build civilizations in space, says Elon Musk.

“This is why we must preserve the light of consciousness by becoming a spacefaring civilization [and] extending life to other planets,” the Tesla and SpaceX boss tweeted Sunday in response to a story about the study on science news blog Universal-Sci.

“It is unknown whether we are the only civilization currently alive in the observable universe, but any chance that we are is added impetus for extending life beyond Earth,” Musk tweeted Sunday.

“Humanity is not perfect, but it’s all we’ve got,” the SpaceX and Tesla boss said.

To safeguard human life requires moving beyond the blue planet, in Musk's view, because earth is likely to become uninhabitable.

"There will be some eventual extinction event" if humans stay on earth forever, Musk said in an article published in academic journal New Space, which was published online in June 2017.

Musk’s aeronautics company SpaceX is working to build reusable rockets that travel to Mars, ultimately enabling life on the Red Planet.

"We are building the first Mars, or interplanetary ship, and I think we'll be able to do short trips, flights by first half of next year," Musk said at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas in March. However, he admitted that timeline is aggressive.

In his recent series of tweets, Musk also said that the first humans to travel to other planets will face significant danger. Gradually it will become safer, he said.

“As individuals, we will all die in blink of an eye on a galactic timescale. What can live on for long time is civilization. Those who first go to other planets will face far more risk of death [and] hardship than those who stay. Over time, space travel will be safe [and] open to all,” he says.

Because ultimately, humans are responsible for ensuring that life continues, according to Musk.

“Yes, we are essentially a steward of life [and] duty-bound [in my opinion] to ensure its continuance,” he tweeted.

However, if there are other civilizations in the galaxy, Musk says he is eager to meet them — or most of them, he joked on Twitter.

“Let’s find out. It would be amazing to encounter an alien civilization, provided it is not their invasion fleet!” Musk said.

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