The next big moment will be life becoming multiplanetary



Elon Musk : entrepreneur
The next big moment will be life becoming multiplanetary, an unprecedented adventure that would dramatically enhance the richness and diversity of our collective consciousness. It would also serve as a hedge against the myriad--and growing--threats to our survival. An asteroid or a supervolcano could certainly destroy us, but we also face risks the dinosaurs never saw: An engineered virus, nuclear war, inadvertent creation of a micro black hole, or some as-yet-unknown technology could spell the end of us. Sooner or later, we must expand life beyond our little blue mud ball-or go extinct.

Somehow we have to solve these problems and reduce the cost of human spaceflight by a factor of 100. That's why I started SpaceX. By no means did I think victory was certain. On the contrary, I thought the chances of success were tiny, but that the goal was important enough to try anyway.

We're making progress. If we succeed in recovery and reflight of our Falcon 9 rocket, which carries 11 tons of payload into orbit, it will be the first fully reusable orbital rocket and one of the most significant developments since the dawn of rocketry. At $35 million to manufacture, it's already four times cheaper than comparable single-use vehicles from Boeing or Lockheed. However, since Falcon 9 costs only $200,000 to refuel (and reoxidize), an efficient refurbishment and launch operation would allow the production costs to be amortized over many flights. This has the potential to bring the per-launch price down to about $1 million, a hundredfold improvement over current costs. And if that happens, life will become sustainably multiplanetary in less than a century.


http://www.esquire.com/features/75-most-influential/elon-musk-1008