Elon Musk Says ‘A Bunch Of People Will Probably Die’ During SpaceX Mars Venture

by : Emily Brown on :
Elon Musk Says 'A Bunch Of People Will Probably Die' During SpaceX Mars VenturePA Images

Despite his enthusiasm about sending humankind up into space, Elon Musk has admitted that ‘a bunch of people will probably die’ during SpaceX’s early missions to reach Mars. 

If that’s not the kind of confidence you want from the man behind the plans, I don’t know what is.


Musk discussed the prospect of reaching the red planet during a livestreamed video on Thursday, April 22, where he appeared alongside XPrize chairman Peter Diamandis to announce an XPrize Carbon Removal competition.

See a clip from the video below:

The competition, sponsored by The Elon Musk Foundation, asks participants to develop large-scale CO2 removal projects in an effort to help rebalance Earth’s carbon emission trends.


Though this particular project focuses on helping to save our current home, Musk has previously made clear that he believes humans need to start thinking about relocating if we want to survive long into the future.

In 2016, he outlined a plan to build a colony on Mars ‘in our lifetimes’, and more recently he expressed belief it was ‘possible to make a self-sustaining city on Mars by 2050, if we start in five years’.

The entrepreneur hopes to make his dreams come true through SpaceX, which is developing its Starship spacecraft to make the journey, but no matter how much planning goes into it, taking humans to Mars for the first time will still be an epic challenge.


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Discussing the venture with Diamandis, the pair talked about whether travel to Mars could be considered an ‘escape hatch for rich people’ to which Musk laughed and responded, ‘No, it is not.’

As the first journeys to the red planet begin to take place, Musk admitted that ‘a bunch of people will probably die’, but he pointed out that exploratory missions typically involve dangers of some kind.

Elon MuskPA Images

Musk has long been open about the risks that come with journeying to Mars, having previously emphasised that the venture is a ‘very hard and dangerous, difficult thing, not for the faint of heart’.


Per CNBC, he added, ‘Good chance you’ll die, it’s going to be tough going, but it will be pretty glorious if it works out.’

As the prospect of living – or dying – on Mars is still a way off, those interested in Musk’s projects are probably best for now focusing on the carbon removal competition for which ‘teams must demonstrate CO2 removal at the 1,000 tonne per year scale, model costs at the million ton per year (megatonne) scale, and present a plan to sustainably reach gigatons per year scale in future’.

The winners of the competition will be awarded $100 million prize money – the largest sum of money handed out by The Elon Musk Foundation to date.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Technology, Earth, Elon Musk, Mars, Now, Space, SpaceX


Xprize/YouTube and 1 other
  1. Xprize/YouTube

    Elon Musk and Peter Diamandis LIVE on $100M XPRIZE Carbon Removal

  2. CNBC

    Elon Musk says SpaceX’s Starship rocket will launch ‘hundreds of missions’ before flying people