Mr Musk has made no secret of his desire to take humans to Mars via his SpaceX company. While the prospect of getting humans to the Red Planet is still years, or potentially even decades, away, the South African born billionaire is already making plans for humanity’s arrival.
Mr Musk said that the first settlers will live in temporary glass domes, shielded from the lack of atmosphere of the Red Planet.
However, the space travellers will have to get to work quickly to terraform the Red Planet so eventually humans will be able to live freely on Earth’s next door neighbour.
Terraforming is the process of transforming a planet to make it more similar to Earth’s conditions and thus more habitable for humans.
Mr Musk wrote on Twitter: “Life in glass domes at first. Eventually, terraformed to support life, like Earth.
“Terraforming will be too slow to be relevant in our lifetime. However, we can establish a human base their in our lifetime.
“At least a future spacefaring civilisation – discovering our ruins – will be impressed humans got that far.”
Mr Musk has said in 2018 that one way to terraform Mars is to drop thermonuclear bombs at the planet’s poles – where most of the planet’s CO2 is stored.
This CO2 would subsequently be released into the atmosphere, which would thicken it, keeping Mars warm enough to sustain liquid water, in exactly the same way greenhouse gasses build up on Earth.
Mr Musk said in a tweet: “There’s a massive amount of CO2 on Mars adsorbed into soil that’d be released upon heating.
“With enough energy via artificial or natural (sun) fusion, you can terraform almost any large, rocky body.”
But NASA dismissed this possibility in its study: “The most accessible source is CO2 in the polar ice caps; it could be vaporised by spreading dust on it to absorb more solar radiation or by using explosives.
“However, vaporising the ice caps would only contribute enough CO2 to double the Martian pressure to 1.2 percent of Earth’s.”
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However, conquering Mars will be no easy feat.
Even Mr Musk has claimed that the first people to get there may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.
The SpaceX chief has previously said: “Getting to Mars, I think, is not the fundamental issue.
“The fundamental issue is building a base, building a city on Mars that is self-sustaining.
“We’re going to build a propellant plant, an initial Mars base – Mars Base Alpha – and then get it to the point where it’s self-sustaining.
“I want to emphasise that this is a very hard and dangerous, difficult thing, not for the faint of heart.
“Good chance you’ll die, it’s going to be tough going, but it will be pretty glorious if it works out.”
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