Musk sketched out a vision of thousands of ships launching toward Mars, each carrying up to 100 or 200 people a flight. If we had, say, 10,000 flights, we could start building actual cities on Mars, although it’d take decades to actually get a self-sustaining civilization on Mars, Musk said.
Musk even hinted at the possibility of terraforming Mars — releasing huge amounts of carbon-dioxide to warm the planet and bring back liquid water, making it habitable for humans. “If we could warm Mars up, we would once again have a thick atmosphere and warm oceans,” he said.
You know what they never had in Robinson’s Martian colonies? A dentist. So what happened if one of his super-genius left-wing intellectual colonists needed their wisdom teeth out? The question isn’t as trivial as it sounds. If you’re going to build a self-sustaining colony you don’t just want scientists with radical political views, you want dentists, and dental equipment, and obstetricians, and all of their equipment, and engineers to service it all, and the infrastructure to support an education system all the way through to advanced degrees to train the next generation of all those specialists. I wonder what the minimum viable number of people is to support all that?