Is SpaceX Creating A World For Only The Richest People?


President John F. Kennedy once shocked the
world with the words “we choose to go to the moon.” By “we” he meant America and thereby insinuated
that once astronauts got there that the entire country would share in their success. Fast forward decades later and Yusaku Maezawa,
a Japanese citizen, said something almost identical yet critically different. With excitement he said the following: I choose
to go to the moon. What was once a goal that brought millions
together has now become something that wedges an even wider gap between the top one percent
and the rest of society. Was he right? Let’s look at the privatization of space
travel in this episode of The Infographics Show, Is SpaceX Creating A World for Only
the Rich? Yusaku Maezawa is not just anyone. He has a net worth of over 2 billion dollars
and is famous for creating the largest online mall in Japan known as Zozotown. With his profits he has already spent millions
on priceless art which he plans to showcase in his own museum. But he doesn’t want to make a name for himself
only with his eye for art and fashion, he also wants to be one of the first private
citizens to go to the moon. How he plans to get there is with the Big
Falcon Rocket manufactured by SpaceX. SpaceX has so far designed three rockets:
Falcon 1 which launched in 2006, Falcon 9 which launched in 2010, and Falcon Heavy which
launched in 2018. What has set these apart from the competition
is the fact that they are cheaper than other models and in the case of Falcon Heavy can
carry twice as much for a fraction of the cost. SpaceX created the Dragon spacecraft as well,
with room for seven astronauts on board. This was launched successfully on March second
using the Falcon 9 rocket. While unmanned, a mannequin named Ripley was
on board, fitted with sensors to measure the impact of space throughout the trip. Its launch was a necessary step to prove travel
on SpaceX’S innovative machinery is safe for humans before manned travel can begin. Only then, and likely after a few additional
such tests, can Big Falcon Rocket, the one Maezawa will use on his 2023 trip, be given
the green light for its journey. The behemoth is 35 stories stall and while
similar in function to Falcon 9 is capable of propelling a spacecraft carrying as many
as dozens into space. The anticipated trip to the moon is just a
starting point for the rocket and the company. Once SpaceX has proven it can successfully
take humans there and back, it wants to do much, much more. The ultimate goal is to expand to the extent
that the company transports people to other planets to live. In fact, according to its creator Elon Musk,
who is also the cofounder of Paypal and investor and CEO of car manufacturer Telsa, his motivation
in first forming the company was to find an out for humanity when, not if, it is to survive. He believes in the case of a nuclear catastrophe
a colony on Mars may be the only hope for mankind. He has set his sights on Mars as a more hospitable
location for human life than the moon. By building a colony there, Musk believes
that, come what may, there is a chance that Earth can later be repopulated. Despite the accusations of many, Musk says
that Mars isn’t intended to be any type of escape for just the wealthy. The one million he hopes to take there will
have to brave dangers, he claims, many as yet unknown. In fact, there is a good likelihood that several
among the first inhabitants won’t survive, while those who do will revel in the excitement
of making it. It will also be far from a leisurely experience,
at least at first. Settlers will be responsible for helping develop
its infrastructure and making prolonged life on its surface even possible. He compares it to settling Antarctica. Those who will go will be the ones whose desire
for a thrill will exceed the fear of danger, not simply the rich, many of whom enjoy a
life of cushy comfort on their home planet. He does have a point that Mars is quite different
from Earth with a unique set of obstacles to overcome. It is smaller with less gravity and a thinner
atmosphere that is almost entirely carbon dioxide. Without Earth’s magnetic field, harmful
levels of radiation are not deflected from its surface. It is also very cold and average temperatures
are minus 81 degrees Fahrenheit. Days are longer and years last 687 days. It would take some adjusting to thrive on
Mars and without the use of assistive technology it would not be possible. Then of course there are the dangers of the
trip over as well. To enter and exit Earth’s atmosphere means
exposure to extreme changes in gravity as well as millions of pounds of thrust at thousands
of miles per hour. This is not exactly comfortable and even seasoned
astronauts have been known to develop a condition known as space motion sickness. Interestingly, it has been shown that those
with medical conditions that are well controlled are not at risk during space flight. Psychological stress, on the other hand, is
currently a challenge for private space travel companies. Questionnaires meant to screen potential passengers
for their emotional fitness have proven far less than accurate. Many look to pre-flight training as a chance
to familiarize passengers with what to expect and to avoid in-flight anxiety. After all, the flight will be unlike anything
people have ever seen or experienced before and it’s quite incomparable to relatively
comfortable and, for many, rather unremarkable travel via plane. Then there’s the fact that, even in ideal
circumstances, the risk of dying on a spacecraft is 10,000 times greater than on a commercial
aircraft. Having this knowledge in the back of their
minds may prove more than a little unsettling for some. For legal reasons, each and every person who
is taken to the moon or, in time, to Mars will be well versed on the risks of such a
trip. However, as Maezawa has shown, despite its
known dangers, many of the wealthy elite remain excited about boarding spacecraft for the
experience of a lifetime. And, clearly, Musk believes his company and
its mission will ultimately be quite successful. In fact, when society does eventually take
hold on the red planet, Musk has gotten far enough along in his planning that he’s considered
the type of government that will rule its people. In his opinion, it will not be a democracy
like current-day America, but more of a direct democracy where the majority wins. Ideally legislation passed would be short
and sweet, easier to repeal than implement. And, when society needs a break from legal
issues, Musk has joked that there will be plenty of bars in which it can grab a drink. Mars Bars. He has also joked, rather eerily, of an alternative
system in which he is emperor of the planet. As one of the few in control of who gets there
and when, as well as who can eventually make it back, this is a little less amusing. This is not the only thing he has said that
rubs people the wrong way. For example, despite his denials that his
company will cater to only the rich, space travel is obviously not an option for the
average person. As we mentioned, Yusaku Maezawa is a billionaire
and while Musk won’t share just how much he spent to reserve his trip to space, he
acknowledged that it was significant. Significant to a billionaire must be a hefty
sum. And, Maezawa not only bought his own seat
but also the eight others available for the trip. He now gets to dictate just who will join
him and has decided it will be a combination of musicians, artists, and designers. In other words, Joe the plumber will not be
on board. The trip to the moon will also be relatively
short. According to NASA the moon is 238,855 miles,
or 384,400 kilometers away. This is the distance of thirty Earths. In contrast Mars, with a distance that varies
depending on just where it is on its orbit, is on average 140 million miles, or 225 million
kilometers away. That is obviously much further. Currently, if technology is not improved,
many estimate that the much lengthier trip to Mars would cost $10 billion a person. However, Musk believes that reusable rockets
and fitting one hundred to two hundred people per flight will significantly drive down the
cost. His revised estimate if these conditions are
met is something more like the average cost of a house, or $200,000. He thinks that those who start saving should
be able to acquire this sum, or something close to it. And herein lies the problem in being a billionaire. While to him $200,000 is mere change, to others
it represents the largest investment they will ever make in their lives. Not to mention, many who live in a house do
not actually own it; the bank does, and they never had $200,000 available as cash. And, say that people do sell all that they
own to move to Mars. Once this is done, they will effectively be
stuck without the means to return. Although, in a worst-case scenario, they may
well not want to. Musk has also shared that perhaps in about
a century going to Mars might be as little as $100,000 or even less. That means just 100 years to wait and see
if a combination of conflict, natural disaster, or pollution that have chased the elite off
the planet don’t wipe out the poorer segment of society that will be left behind. Not to mention, many still won’t be able
to afford even this much. He’s claimed there is a 70% chance that
he will go to Mars himself, to live. In other words, he will be quite safe, no
matter Earth’s circumstances. Which is why his argument that many of the
richest might not want to populate Mars due to its harsh climate and lack of infrastructure
is a relatively weak one as well. In interviews Musk has made it perfectly clear
that Mars will not be a vacation destination, but a means for self-preservation. If nuclear war on planet Earth seemed imminent
or other situations occurred where life was threatened, one would think that the dangers
of Mars would seem relatively insignificant in comparison. In these scenarios, it would literally be
a difficult life or certain death scenario, which to most is not a difficult decision
to make. The fact remains that Mars has half the diameter
of Earth. Earth’s population is projected to be around
9 billion by 2050. A colony of one million is a small fraction
of this amount and, even if its space was utilized to its fullest, Mars simply cannot
support that many people. So, by the nature of the game, many will inevitably
be left out. As this is the case, just who would the one
million colony on Mars be? As we have discussed, it would definitely
not be the poor, and likely not the middle class either. It would be the wealthy. Most of the companies attempting to privatize
space flight to Mars are American, such as Musk’s SpaceX and Amazon founder Jeff Benzos’
Blue Origin. One would assume that many of those their
spacecraft will carry with them would be American as well. While the wealthiest around the world might
reserve a seat, entire impoverished nations would likely lack any representation at all. Unlike other modes of travel meant to benefit
entire populations, such as bikes, cars, buses, boats, trains, or planes, due to the unparalleled
cost of its operation space travel is inherently discriminatory. The plan to populate other planets will not
improve the quality of life for most. It is limited on many fronts and will ultimately
exclude a majority of the world while accommodating only a select few. As the private for-profit industry works,
these few will most likely be the ones who have the most money to offer and who will
make the trip the most financially worthwhile. What do you think, is SpaceX creating a world
for the richest of the rich, or will its founders somehow find a way to include the lower classes? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video
called Why Does The Media Suddenly Hate Elon Musk Thanks for watching, and, as always,
don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!

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