Werner Herzog believes Elon Musk’s plan to colonize Mars is an obscene mistake

The famous German director, screenwriter, producer, and actor Werner Herzog has expressed that Elon Musk is wrong with his claims to create cities on Mars and that he should instead focus on solving the problems of our planet.

Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog

The CEO of SpaceX has a plan to send the first humans to Mars in the mid-2020s, using the Starship rocket currently in development. Once there, the idea is to build a self-sufficient city with a million inhabitants by 2050.

But the famous film director has told Inverse magazine that there is a major flaw in the second half of Musk’s plan. In a harsh criticism, he described the idea as “obscenity” and said that humans “should not be like lobsters.”

Werner Herzog also compared Musk’s plan to the rise and collapse of communism and fascism in the 20th century. The 21st century will end “quickly” with “technological utopias such as colonizing Mars,” he declared.

But the German artist is not at all opposed to going to Mars. In fact, he has stated that “he would love to go to the red planet with a camera and scientists.” But the long-term vision of a city there seems to him a “mistake.”

Herzog’s main concern is that humanity should “seek to keep our planet habitable,” rather than trying to colonize another.

In short, Mars is not a habitable place. There is no liquid water on the surface and no air to breathe. The solar wind means that the inhabitants would be fried like in a microwave, ”Herzog said.

Elon Musk’s Respond to criticism

Musk has responded to this type of criticism before. In 2018, he shared research suggesting that water ice exists on Mars in Korolev Crater, and hinted that the planet “needs a warmup.” Over time, researchers have detected more than 1.2 million cubic miles of water ice on or near the surface of Mars.

He has also repeatedly come up with a plan to warm the planet and release stored carbon dioxide, citing a 1993 research paper as evidence that it would work. He claims that doing so would allow humans to walk around Mars with just a breathing apparatus.

This claim is controversial, to say the least. A 2018 study found that if scientists were to unleash Mars’ carbon dioxide reserves, it would generate an atmosphere of around 15 millibars of pressure, well below the 1,000 millibars found at sea level on Earth. 

Musk responded to the research by writing that “there is a massive amount of CO2 on Mars adsorbed to the ground that would be released as it warms up,” but evidence for this is lacking.

Researchers have also raised concerns about the effects of space radiation on Mars. Musk said in 2016 that it is “not deadly” and “not a big problem,” but studies conducted on the International Space Station and Earth suggest that time spent in space has significant health consequences. 

To fix the problem, Musk proposed solar storm shelters on ships in 2017, designed to function as the first habitats. NASA scientists have also proposed a magnetic shield to ward off solar winds.

Concept of a settlement on Mars.

Another issue Herzog has with Musk’s ambitions is the plan to use the rechargeable spacecraft to fly to Mars, establish a base and the means to create more fuel, and then let the ships return home or venture further afield establishing bases. along the path.

While Musk’s plan for a ” multi-planetary species” is ambitious and could work in theory, Herzog is not convinced.

“I think Elon styles himself a kind of tech visionary,” says Herzog. “Because he has to sell his electric cars, it’s wonderful that he does it. You have to sell your reusable rockets. It’s wonderful that I’m doing it. But I don’t agree with him when he postulates and preaches about the colonization of Mars.

And I have to tell not just Elon Musk, but everyone. And that’s why I say it in the simplest way possible: it is an obscenity. Just thinking about it is obscenity, “he added.

Fix the Earth

Musk has been criticized before for focusing on moving to Mars rather than fixing Earth. In a 2019 stage appearance with Jack Ma, the Chinese billionaire told him that the Earth “needs more heroes making things better every day.”

The CEO of SpaceX responded: “I think it is important that we take the set of actions that are most likely to maintain awareness in the future; in other words, in case something happens to Earth.

Herzog compared Musk’s utopian vision to that of communism and fascism, saying that “the 20th century was in its entirety a mistake”, which brought “the disappearance of great social utopias such as communism as paradise on earth.”

“No, it failed,” Herzog pointed out. «Second failure: fascism, the Aryan superior race would dominate and improve our planet Earth and humanity. Thank God these two gigantic utopias came to an end.

The same will happen with the city of Musk on Mars. Our century will very quickly put an end to that technological utopia. We will end this utopia very, very quickly within this century, “he predicted.

Herzog has spoken with SpaceX’s own CEO about multi-planetary ambitions. In the 2016 documentary Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World , the artist asked for a “one-way ticket” to Mars, and he ran as a candidate.

Musk’s response at the time suggested that he is aware that not everyone shares his enthusiasm: ‘I think we’re going to want to offer round trips because a lot more people would be willing to go if they think that if they don’t like it, they can. come back, ”Musk said.

But if the reason humanity is leaving Earth is because our own planet is in a mess, going home might be easier said than done.

Source: Inverse

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