A House on Earth or a Ticket to Mars?

Whenever someone says something will happen in the next twenty years, you can take that as code for “I have no idea when this will happen, but I really hope it’ll happen soon!”

With that in mind, in the next twenty years the cost of sending a human being to Mars will become affordable for the average person. Or at least that’s the promise made by Elon Musk in his scientific paper/personal manifesto “Making Humans a Multi-Planet Species.”

In that paper/manifesto, Musk says, “In fact, right now, you cannot go to Mars for infinite money.” That’s a blunt way of putting it. Musk goes on to say that if Apollo-era technology were revived, it would cost about $10 billion per person to send humans to Mars. But Musk believes his company, SpaceX, can reduce the cost to a mere $200,000 per person.

That’s still a whole lot of money. Who can afford that? But before you dismiss what Musk is saying, consider this: the average person heading to Mars would not be going on a whim or as a tourist. Choosing to travel to Mars would be a major life decision. You’d be going there to stay, to help colonize the Red Planet, to start a new life on a new world.

That $200,000 price tag is comparable, according to Musk’s estimation, to the median average cost of buying a home in the U.S. So the choice we’d all have can be framed this way: would you rather buy a house on Earth or a ticket to Mars?

If I could ask Musk one question, it would be can I get a mortgage on my Mars ticket? Based on some of the other things Musk says in his manifesto, I suspect the answer would be yes, something like a mortgage would be possible.

I have to admit I’d have a hard time deciding what to do in this future Mr. Musk envisions. I’d probably choose to go to Mars, but I also really like my house on Earth. It would be hard for me to give that up. Hard, but not impossible.

So if we were all living twenty years from now, which would you choose: a house on Earth or a ticket to Mars?

15 thoughts on “A House on Earth or a Ticket to Mars?

  1. I would be 70 by then, so probably would find it tough getting travel insurance. Plus, I’m not really cut out to be a pioneer. I’d keep my house, but hopefully you’d be able to keep up blogging from Mars. In fact, that would make for a fantastic blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess I might be a bit too old for it as well in twenty years time, assuming it really happens in the next twenty years (which I’m pretty sure it won’t). But setting that aside, I’d still be really tempted to do it. I’m not sure if I’d be allowed to bring all my art supplies, though. I’d probably have to scale down my blog a bit.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Steve. Maaaybe I’d be up to it in my mid-60s, but I’m not quite sure; I’m already wobbling about on my travels around this planet. However, I’d love to read your experience if you went!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Imagine there is a station somewhere in the middle of Antarctica. You pay 200000 $ to go there, to spend the rest of your life there. One of the conditions is that while there, if you leave the station, you have to wear a closed space suit.

    You will never again walk under trees, or on a beach. You will never again sit in a street café. You will just be there in a cold desert.

    What is the difference between that a life sentence in a GULAG camp?

    Now, move the station from Antarctica to Mars. Does that make it any better?

    It is imprisonment for a lifetime.

    If you can come back, OK, then it might be an adventure or a scientific expedition, but if you have to spend there year after year after year, in the same rooms, with the same people, in the middle of nowhere, getting old?

    Where I live, when I look out of my window, I see trees, birds and sometimes a squirrel. I can go for a walk or go for a bike ride into the forest.

    It seems to me that this “multi planet species” thing and this topic of “colonizing Mars” is an ideology. And it looks like it is one of those ideologies that create GULAGs or the like.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You could be right. Mars may not seem so appealing to me if I were actually there. But I don’t think it would feel quite like a Gulag prison, not if it’s a growing colony with greenhouses and new colonists arriving every 26 months.


  4. I’ve spent a lot of years homesick for the Fundy coast. The smell of the ocean, the endless tracts of rugged forest. I survive, but I didn’t thrive away from it. When the homesickness got bad, I could always go hang out with some trees and feel whole again. But a place devoid of trees? I don’t have the right personality for that. I think I’d end depressed and possibly worse if I had to live off world. Now, if a moon like Endor existed …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess it would be tough for me too, leaving everything behind. I don’t know. I sometimes feel a bit restless and I don’t like being trapped in the same place for too long. But as I wrote in response to Nannus, Mars might lose a lot of its appeal for me if I were actually there.


  5. I’m going to echo nannus. I’d choose Earth. Mars would be an adventure, for the first month or two. Perhaps even for the first year. After that? It becomes the prison nannus described. This would be particularly true if you weren’t in very first famous expedition.

    That being said, when I was 20 my answer would have been different. You do learn some things as you get older.

    I’d be much more likely to consider it if I had the option to return.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, if I were still in my 20’s, I’d be a definite yes for Mars. But I guess I’m hitting the point when I’m sort of settled, and I’m less willing to abandon the life I’ve built for myself here on Earth.

      Liked by 1 person

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