Musk’s Space Race


Have you ever dreamed of living on another planet? Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX, has. Now, he’s making those dreams come to life. According to The Planetary Society, Musk plans to bring one million people to Mars in the next 40 to 100 years; a wide range, but still possibly within our lifetimes. However, Musk estimates that tickets to Mars would be about $200,000, so start saving up.

SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy rocket on February 6, 2018, a rocket built for bearing cargo. Aboard the rocket was Musk’s Tesla Roadster, and a single passenger: a mannequin named “Starman.” Currently, the bright red Roadster orbits around the sun, a message reading “Don’t Panic!” displayed on its screen. Although the movie Back to the Future II predicted we’d have flying cars by 2015, it’s been 3 years since, and the only flying car we have is about 5 million miles away from Earth.

There are many different opinions about space travel and colonization; especially within the Webb community. “It will soon be a necessary endeavor that humans will have to face,” said Willy Martinez (‘19),“ with population growth rates rising, humans will probably have to look to other planets to inhabit at some point in the future.”

On the other hand, Amanda Wang (‘20) thinks “that we should focus on the problems that are here on earth before we go to Mars because it seems like it’s more important to take care of our own planet first. It seems like going to Mars would be spreading our problems rather than sitting down and fixing what we already have going on.”

SpaceX described the Falcon Heavy as the “most powerful operational rocket in the world.” With technological advancements like these, space colonization can’t be too far away. However, the journal Astrobiology reports that the odds of humans being the only advanced species in the universe are one in 10 billion trillion. Perhaps another Space Race is in the making, only this time, it’s Elon Musk versus the universe.

Does the concept of “Manifest Destiny” extend itself into space? What gives us the right to take over other planets? These are the questions we have to ask as we develop our spaceflight capabilities. Although space exploration and colonization is cool and intriguing, we have to keep our ethics and morals aligned and remember that not everything in this universe exists for us to take.