Here is the kind of space math that is completely appropriate for 2012: SpaceX founder Elon Musk says he's preparing for a permanent Mars colony stocked with 80,000 wealthy humans in their 40s. Are you in your 40s right now? Too late! This won't happen for another decade, or more. Are you poor and 30? Well maybe you've got a shot, but probably not. Do you have a degree from a good school and maybe a new job at Facebook or Twitter or Google? You might get to be a "new pilgrim," on Mars! You'll even get to enjoy gardening, the latest craze for people who build APIs all day, because otherwise you'll die due to lack of oxygen and food and etc. Still, it could be the New Brooklyn, which means you'll want to get in before prices triple.
Musk says he's basing his cost-per-colonizer on the price of a house in coastal California, which is about a half-million dollars for something a long ways from spectacular, but still way more than the vast majority of people on Earth could ever afford. And in 10 years, who knows what that adjusted-for-inflation number might be? The great thing about this is that the most exciting possible future for humanity will use a metric based on San Francisco Bay Area housing prices. Hey, wasn't Star Fleet headquarters in San Francisco, in the pretend future?
Meet the New Affordable:
Musk’s $500,000 ticket price for a Mars trip was derived from what he thinks is affordable.
"The ticket price needs to be low enough that most people in advanced countries, in their mid-forties or something like that, could put together enough money to make the trip," he said, comparing the purchase to buying a house in California.
He also estimated that of the eight billion humans that will be living on Earth by the time the colony is possible, perhaps one in 100,000 would be prepared to go. That equates to potentially 80,000 migrants.
The rest of us, stuck on this stinking Waterworld, will have nothing better to do but clone pet animals and kill your escaped sex robots.