The Real Reason Elon Musk Wants To Go To Space

On May 5, 2021, Elon Musk's SpaceX finally landed its Starship rocket after sending it to an altitude of 10 kilometers. After reaching its apogee, Starship SN15 (Serial Number 15) glided back down to Earth in a horizontal position, then used its rockets to maneuver back to land vertically on the landing pad. It's something we've seen so many times in movies that when you watch the clip of the landing posted by The Washington Post, it almost takes a second to fully appreciate that this really happened. No special effects here.

Elon Musk is adamant about putting people on Mars within our lifetime. And while his first four attempts to land a Starship met with failure, this fifth and finally successful test revealed that he is putting one foot in front of the other (astronomically speaking) in pursuit of his goal. That landing showed us part of how Elon Musk plans to put people on Mars, but why does he want to do that in the first place? Let's take a look into Musk's motives for wanting to ply the spaces between the stars.

Elon Musk's drive to leave Earth is more positive than you might think

Elon Musk has been criticized for wanting to take people to Mars. According to Sky News, British astrophysicist Lord Martin Rees called the idea a "dangerous delusion," and everyone's personal astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson decried it as "unrealistic." However, Dr. Tyson attributed Musk's desire to move to Mars to a catastrophe here on Earth, saying it would be "so much easier to make Earth return to Earth again rather than terraforming Mars."

But Musk doesn't view his interest in space flight as an escape from planet Earth. A quote attributed to him on the SpaceX website reveals that he has a much more positive outlook on his astronomical aspirations. "You want to wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be great — and that's what being a spacefaring civilization is all about. And I can't think of anything more exciting than going there and being among the stars." So for Musk it's not about leaving Earth behind, but simply taking that next giant leap to find what else is out there.