Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said Elon Musk’s company SpaceX will not be the first to colonize Mars. In fact, no private enterprise will be taking humans to the Red Planet, according to the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space.
“Private enterprise will not ever lead a space frontier. Not because I don’t want them to, but my read of history says they can’t. It’s not possible. Space is dangerous. It’s expensive. There are unquantified risks,” Tyson told Business Insider. “Combine all of those under one umbrella; you cannot establish a free market capitalization of that enterprise.”
Not knowing risk is not something the free market embraces.
“Those are the kinds of frontiers that history of governments have undertaken,” Tyson said. “The first Europeans to the New World were not the Dutch East India Trading Company, it was governments funding government missions.”
“Columbus drew the maps, established where the trade winds were,” he continued. “Where are the hostiles? Where are the friendlies? Is there food there? Can you breathe the air? They come back with this information. Then, you can establish a capital market valuation.”
Musk’s SpaceX wants to put people on Mars in 10 years time. So far the company sent a capsule to the International Space Station three times. It also obtained a contract to launch a German satellite network.
Billionaire entrepreneur, co-founder of PayPal and Tesla Motors, Elon Musk announced an ambitious plan this month for a high-speed transport between Los Angeles and San Francisco called the hyperloop.