KEY POINTS

  • Neil deGrasse Tyson is skeptical of Elon Musk's plan to colonize Mars
  • Tyson believes Musk will not get the necessary support for the mission
  • Government agencies like NASA should be the first ones to launch a Mars mission

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s previous interview with television personality Larry King showed the astrophysicist harshly criticizing Elon Musk’s plan to colonize Mars. He noted that he’s really skeptical about the success of SpaceX’s plans for the Red Planet.

In 2015, Tyson appeared on King’s talk show “Larry King Now.” During his interview, the astrophysicist talked about various topics related to the cosmos. One of the topics he discussed with King was Musk’s plan to send people to Mars and to eventually colonize it.

According to Tyson, due to the factors that make a mission to Mars extremely challenging, such as the duration of the trip and the Red Planet’s hostile environment, SpaceX will most likely encounter issues when it comes to getting financial support from investors.

As noted by Tyson, a meeting between SpaceX and its potential investors for a Mars mission would most likely last for only about five minutes.

“If I say ‘hey I’m going to go to Mars, bring in all your venture capitalists’ then they start asking questions,” he said during the interview. “They want to know how much it costs, if it’s dangerous, what’s the return on investment.”

“That’s a five-minute meeting and it (the mission) doesn’t happen,” he added.

According to Tyson, private companies like SpaceX should not be the first ones to carry out a daring mission to an alien planet such as Mars. Instead, these exploration projects should be first handled by government agencies such as NASA.

Aside from having the proper resources, NASA has the experience when it comes to executing groundbreaking missions in space. SpaceX could then learn from NASA once it carried out its own mission to Mars.

Despite Tyson’s skepticism regarding Musk’s plan to go to Mars, he commended the tech mogul because of his natural character. Although some of Musk’s ideas may seem a bit far-fetched for now, Tyson noted that society needs people like him.

“We need people thinking that way, he wants to put people on Mars, we need those people in society, otherwise the rest of us think every day should be like the previous,” Tyson said.

The success of the test is essential for Elon Musk's SpaceX and for NASA, which urgently needs to certify a spacecraft to transport its astronauts to the ISS this year The success of the test is essential for Elon Musk's SpaceX and for NASA, which urgently needs to certify a spacecraft to transport its astronauts to the ISS this year Photo: AFP / Philip Pacheco