Famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has employed his trademark wit to answer the question of whether he will go to Mars.
Tyson participated in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) on Sunday and a user asked Tyson if he would consider a trip on Elon Musk’s Space X.
The astrophysicist said he would go but provided one cheeky condition.
“I really like Earth, so any space trip I take, I’m double checking that there’s sufficient funds for me to return”, he responded, adding “Also, I’m not taking that trip until Elon Musk (sends) his mother and brings her back alive. Then I’m good for it.”
Recently, the race to Mars has been heating up. In 2015, NASA released plans to get to the Mars by the 2030s. And last year, serial entrepreneur Musk announced his bold scheme to get a million people on The Red Planet by the 2060s.
Although Tyson claimed to be a fan of Space X’s reusable boosters, he remained a little sceptical of the company, writing:
I’m simultaneously one of SpaceX’s biggest critics and supporters…[Projects] that are hugely expensive and dangerous, with uncertain returns on investments, make poor activities of profit-driven companies…So my read of history is that private companies will not be the first to send humans to Mars unless government actually pays for it.
Tyson also predicted that humanity would not make contact with intelligent aliens within the next 50 years since they are probably “too far away” in space or time.
Regarding Musk’s mother, Tyson shouldn’t hold his breath.
At 68 years old, Maye Musk has done many things, including working as an international model and appearing in a Beyoncé video. Judging by this shot, she also has a bit of a sci-fi thing going on. But one thing she won’t do is go to Mars.
Last year, she told Mashable, “I’m not moving to Mars… Frankly, it’s because they need the younger people there like engineers to create a future. They don’t need me.”
It’s doubtful that Elon would even make the trip, let alone Maye. During his Mars announcement last year, someone asked him about it.
“I don’t think so. I’m not really sure”, he replied. “I’d have to have a really good succession plan because the likelihood of death is very high… And I’d like to see my kids grow up and everything.
Well, I guess we can now rule three people out from the Mars trip – Elon Musk, his mum and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
Perhaps Musk should work on sugar-coating the journey to Mars a little. At the moment, it’s being pitched as a near suicidal trip to a desolate, cold and faraway place. No wonder people are hesitant.
Taking a cue from real estate, let’s just say that Mars is a great “opportunity” and a bit of a “fixer-upper”. Now, who’s in?