Musk’s core rationale is so profoundly flawed that I find it astonishing so many people allow themselves to be caught up in his hype factory. Sure, making reusable launchers is economically sound. But the idea of building a billionaire’s panic room on Mars to “save our species” is hilarious. The dinosaurs didn’t become extinct because they didn’t have a space program. They were incredibly successful and long-lasting, at 225 million years versus our species approximately 400,000 years, soon almost certain to end due to massive self-harm.

Aside from the hundreds of physiological problems associated with space travel and the thousands of technological problems associated with terraforming, the human component is always the most difficult. We’re trashing our planet (the only one we’re actually evolved to live on), we create endless unnecessary conflicts among ourselves, and we’re fundamentally stupid (for very good evolutionary reasons). The idea that all these factors will magically vanish because Musk gives a glib teenage boy presentation is, at best, very wishful thinking indeed. Real life isn’t an episode of Star Trek where all the awkward variables have been excised.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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