End of the world: Elon Musk warns life on Earth could ‘go out with a bang or a whimper’

Elon Musk evaluates the chances of human civilisation on Mars

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Elon Musk, 49, believes it is simply a matter of time before our time on Earth runs out. Just like the dinosaurs were wiped out by a chain reaction of cataclysmic events 66 million years ago, so does humanity face a myriad of internal and external threats, according to the tech mogul. Mr Musk appeared this week on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast to talk about humanity’s space-faring future and why he thinks it is critical we secure a foothold on the Red Planet, Mars.

Towards this goal, Mr Musk is investing large sums of money into building his Starship rocket with SpaceX, which he hopes will put humans on Mars by the year 2026.

But his visions are much grander and the billionaire believes building a full-fledged and self-sustaining colony on Mars is within the realm of possibility.

The Mars colony will need to be self-sustaining as Mr Musk thinks it is inevitable ships will stop arriving from Earth one day.

And if life is extinguished on Earth before we have settled another world, then it will spell the certain end of human civilisation.

Speaking to host Joe Rogan, he said: “Yoy gotta have all the things necessary to sustain a civilisation on Mars.

“And the reason that the ships from Earth stop coming could be World War 3 or it could be due to a slow decline of civilisation.”

Mr Musk has previously spoken about a historical precedent for the decline and collapse of grand civilisations.

The Roman Empire, the Babylonians, the Sumerians, he believes, are all examples of great powers that faded away in time – and he thinks the same arc awaits humanity but on a planet-wide scale.

He told Mr Rogan: “Civilisation here on Earth could end with a bang or with a whimper.”

A bang, for example, would be an unexpected asteroid impact such as the one that killed two-thirds of life on Earth 66 million years ago.

And though no such threat is known to exist today, space agencies like NASA are already preparing for such an eventuality.

Mr Musk said: “But it could also be like a whole series of things. Like, what killed the dinosaurs?

“Well it wasn’t just one thing, it was a whole bunch of things happened in a row.

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“And you know, well they could have taken any one of those things.

“They had like three things happen and no dinosaurs.”

Just two years ago Mr Musk revealed what he thought would be the cost of building a human outpost on Mars.

The SpaceX chief said it would cost somewhere in the ballpark of £72.2billion to £7.2trillion ($100billion to $10trillion).

One way Mr Musk wants to achieve this is by having a fleet of Starships capable of launching and landing hundreds of tonnes of cargo and astronauts on the Red Planet.

He has previously spoken about churning out one Starship a week – an unprecedented rate of production.

Starship is still in the development stage and so far only two prototypes have taken to the skies.

Unfortunately, both Starships were met with a swift demise after they crashed into the launch on their first high-altitude test flights.

But SpaceX is confident both rockets were sacrificed in the name of progress and Starship is only two years from becoming operational.

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