As more and more private companies announce plans for space exploration ventures, the more it looks like the first humans to set foot on the moon (again) or Mars (for the first time) in the near future won’t be wearing suits emblazoned with a blue NASA meatball, but rather the logo of a privately owned and operated company.
Many of these tech-savvy startups, running lean and mean without the burden of decades of red tape, are promising efficient and safe space travel at cut-rate prices.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk, for example, has already shared his vision of a Mars colony 80,000 strong, initiated with reusable rockets and $500,000 seat prices. But what would it actually cost to set up a long-term home on the Red Planet, taking into consideration not just your boarding pass but also what you would need to survive and thrive on an alien world?
So the bottom line is this: getting to Mars from Earth won’t likely ever be cheap. But if we make it a priority to colonize beyond our own planet — truly stepping “out of the cradle” — it’s a doable feat, even with the resources currently available. And only by making that first step will we learn the skills and develop the know-how needed to survive outside our finite world.