Musk’s dream to colonize Mars is not about science, though. It is an insurance policy. “History suggests there will be some doomsday event,” he said. “The alternative is to become a space-going civilization and a multi-planet species.” When your belief is that you’re saving humanity from annihilation, you may not care too much about a few alien microbes.

But Musk also admits that he can’t achieve the colossal task alone. “Ultimately, this is going to be a huge public-private partnership,” he said. Even if Musk doesn’t have ethical qualms, as a publicly funded body, NASA most certainly will.

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