Elon Musk will build a city on Mars, but Werner Herzog says the plans are unequivocally a “mistake.”
SpaceX CEO Musk has a plan to send the first humans to Mars in the mid-2020s using the underdeveloped Starship rocket. Once there, Musk wants to build a self-sustaining, million-strong city on Mars by 2050.
But the famous film director Herzog tells Vise versa there is a massive flaw in the last half of Musk’s plan.
In a blatant critique, Herzog describes the idea as “an obscenity” and says people “should not be like the locusts.”
In the interview conducted earlier this month before the release of a new documentary on asteroids, Herzog also compares Musk’s plan with the emergence and collapse of communism and fascism in the 20th century. The 21st century will “quickly” end the “technological utopia of colonizing Mars,” he says.
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Herzog is not at all against going to Mars. In fact, the German filmmaker would “love to go [to Mars] with a camera with scientists. “But the long-term vision of a Mars city is a” mistake. ”
Herzog’s biggest concern is that humanity “should rather look at keeping our planet habitable” instead of trying to colonize another.
“We must not be like the locusts that come, graze empty our planet, okay, and where are we going now?”
In short, Mars is not a habitable place. There is no liquid water on the surface or air to breathe. Solar wind means residents would be “fried like in a microwave,” Herzog says.
Musk has previously responded to this kind of criticism. In 2018, he shared research suggesting that there is water ice on Mars in the Korolev crater, suggesting that the planet “needs a warming.” Over time, scientists have discovered more than 1.2 million cubic meters of water ice on or near the surface of Mars.
Musk has repeatedly put forward a plan to warm the planet and release stored carbon dioxide, citing a 1993 research paper as proof that it would work. He claims it would allow humans to orbit Mars with only one respirator.
This claim is controversial to say the least. A 2018 study showed that if scientists released Mars’ carbon dioxide stores, it would generate an atmosphere of about 15 millibars – well below the 1,000 millibars found at Earth’s sea level. Musk responded to the research by writing that “there is a massive amount of CO2 on Mars adsorbed in soil released by heating,” but evidence is lacking.
“Thought alone is an obscenity.”
Scientists have also expressed concern about the effects of space radiation on Mars. Musk said in 2016 that it is “not deadly” and “not too big of a deal,” but studies conducted on the International Space Station and Earth suggest that time spent in space has significant health consequences. To get around the problem, in 2017 Musk proposed solar storm screens on the ships designed to double as the first habitats. NASA scientists have also proposed a magnetic shield for protection against solar winds.
Another problem Herzog has with Musk’s ambitions is dealing with the plan to use the refillable Starship to fly to Mars, create a base and funds to create more fuel, and then let the ships return home or venture out further by establish bases along the road. While Musk’s plan for a “multi-planetary species” is ambitious, Herzog is not convinced.
“I think Elon Musk is stylizing himself as a kind of technological visionary,” Herzog says. “Because he has to sell his electric cars, so wonderful that he does. He has to sell his recyclable rockets. Wonderful that he does.”
“But I disagree with him when he postulates and preaches about the colonization of Mars,” Herzog says.
“And I must not only tell Elon Musk, but everyone. And then I say it as straightforward as it can be … it’s an obscenity. The thought alone is an obscenity.”
Musk has previously been criticized for focusing on moving to Mars rather than straightening the earth. In a performance on stage in 2019 with Jack Ma, Chinese billionaire Musk said the Earth “needs more heroes … to improve things every day.”
The SpaceX CEO replied, “I think it’s important for us to take the set of actions that will most likely continue consciousness into the future” – in case something happens to Earth, in other words.
Herzog compares Musk’s utopian vision with communism and fascism. Herzog says that the 20th century was “in its entirety a mistake,” which brought “the fallout from great social utopias” like communism “like a paradise on earth.”
“No, it failed,” Herzog says. “Second failure, fascism, Aryan masterpiece will dominate and improve our planet Earth and truly enhance humanity. Thank God, both of these gigantic utopias were brought to an end.”
The same will happen with Musk’s Mars city, Herzog predicts.
“Our century will very quickly end technological utopia like colonizing Mars. We will end this utopia very, very quickly within this century.”
Herzog has previously discussed Musk’s Mars ambitions with him. In the documentary from 2016 See and see, decline from the connected world, Asked Herzog Musk during an interview about a “single ticket” to Mars, adding that “I would be your candidate.”
Musk’s response at the time suggested that he is aware that not everyone shares his enthusiasm: “I think we would like to offer round trips because many more people would be willing to go if they think if they do not like what they can get back, ”Musk said.
But if the reason humanity is leaving Earth is that our own planet is in a mess, it may be easier said than done to return home.