Elon Musk’s plan to take a ‘futuristic Noah’s Ark’ to Mars has been ridiculed by scientists who say the claim is little more than ‘a brilliant sound bite’ and the reality is centuries off and would be incredibly difficult to achieve.
Musk, 50, told Time magazine on Monday that he had big plans for the next phase of space exploration after SpaceX’s Starship rockets land on Mars within the next five years.
‘The next really big thing is to build a self-sustaining city on Mars and bring the animals and creatures of Earth there,’ he said.
‘Sort of like a futuristic Noah’s ark. We’ll bring more than two, though – it’s a little weird if there’s only two.’
Musk has repeatedly said that he hopes to help humans colonize Mars as Earth’s resources dwindle and climate change gets worse.
‘The goal overall has been to make life multi-planetary and enable humanity to become a spacefaring civilization,’ Musk said in the Time interview, where he explained he’s bring animals and plants to the Red Planet.
But experts remain skeptical and were quick to point out the huge challenges in raising livestock on a planet without oxygen.
Others said the plan was hundreds of years away from fruition.
Roger Wiens, a scientist based at Los Alamos in New Mexico, who is currently leading the SuperCam laser instrument on the Perseverance rover on Mars, told DailyMail.com the idea was ‘a brilliant sound bite.’
‘Mars, with its CO2 atmosphere, might be a good place to grow plants if they are kept warm and watered, but it would be a terrible place to drop off animals, who need oxygen to breathe,’ he said.
‘Humans might be smart enough to don oxygen breathing systems, but would an animal be smart enough to adjust such a system if it was falling off its face? I don’t think so. We would end up with a lot of dead animals. Let’s try botanical gardens first.’
Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, was equally skeptical.
He told DailyMail.com it would likely take ‘multiple centuries’ until man was able to raise animals on Mars.