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article imageBillionaire entrepreneur wants vegetarian-only colony on Mars

By Anne Sewell     Jan 9, 2013 in Science
Elon Musk, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal and the one in charge of creating SpaceX, wants a colony on Mars for 80,000 people. Only one problem, they must all be vegetarians.
Presumably it would be easier to set up a colony of vegetarians on Mars, as then it would only be necessary to grow vegetables in some form; whatever the case, this is what Musk is insisting and planning on.
Considered one of America's most respected private space entrepreneurs, South African-born Musk was in charge of creating SpaceX, the space transport company producing the Falcon 9 rocket, used for delivering NASA cargo to the International Space Station.
He is now setting his sights on a city on Mars, with 80,000 vegetarian inhabitants. While this might sound far-fetched, scientists are predicting that human settlements could happen on Mars and elsewhere in space in the very near future. Eric Anderson, chairman of Space Adventures, told RT that the technology has almost reached a level whereby tourists can be sent to space.
He said in October, “I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that there will be a space hotel within the next ten years, in orbit around the Earth.”
Musk just wishes to take the plans a little further by building the city on Mars, using sustainable technology. He plans to send people into space on a "huge reusable rocket powered by liquid oxygen and methane." However, when he says sustainable, he also means the inhabitants' diets, and that means vegetarianism or more accurately veganism, meaning no animal products at all.
Musk plans that people could travel to the settlement on the red planet at a cost of $500,000.
“The ticket price needs to be low enough that most people in advanced countries, in their mid-forties or something like that, could put together enough money to make the trip,” Musk said.
Musk further said that the first adventurers heading to Mars would have the necessary machines to produce oxygen, methane and fertilizer from the atmosphere of the red planet and would have access to subsurface water ice, as well as construction materials for large transparent domes in which to grow Earth crops for food.
Elon Musk plans a dome city on Mars.
Elon Musk plans a dome city on Mars.
On whether the idea of 80,000 inhabitants seems like a lot of people to send to Mars, Musk said that reducing the size would cause the culture and gene pool to be too small, and reportedly said that the risk of civil war would be high.
“On Mars you can start a self-sustaining civilization and grow it into something really big,” Musk said.
Further examination into the vegetarian theme brings up the news that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) actually insisted on it a while back.
Apparently the group wrote a letter to Musk in August last year saying: "We can get off on the right foot on our new biosphere by ensuring that SpaceX crafts traveling to Mars are stocked only with vegan food and that Mars' colonists commit to enjoying an animal-free diet once they've arrived." The full letter can be read here.
According to, Musk said, "I'm a big fan of free choice for any future Martian colony. That said, it is likely that early Mars colonists would have a mostly vegetable diet, because of the energy and space needed to raise farm animals," for which PETA, no doubt, would be grateful indeed.
PETA President, Ingrid E. Newkirk said in a statement, "If Elon Musk's vision of a colony on Mars comes true, the last thing those people will need is the disease and destruction that results from eating animals."
"Whether you're settling into your new Martian home or staying here on Earth, going vegan is the best way to ensure that you'll be able to enjoy the world around you for as long as possible," she added.
Musk admits that there are dangers that need to be overcome before his goal can be reached. With space exploration comes the threat of deep-space radiation, and this needs to be solved first before humans can be sent to Mars.
However, he says, “With my work, and many others working in the private section, the mission is coming closer to reality,” Musk said.
Other Mars News:
The Mars Initiative: A public fund for a human mission to Mars
More about Mars, elon musk, Vegetarian, Colony, Space
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