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Elon Musk, age 47, told "Axios on HBO" that he sees a 70% chance that he'll live to ride one of his SpaceX rockets to Mars. "I know exactly what to do," he said. "I’m talking about moving there."

The big picture: That prediction is dismissed as fantasy by some experts. But Musk said he can envision a flight as soon as seven years from now, with a ticket price of "around a couple hundred thousand dollars."

What he's saying: Musk shrugged off the objection that a Mars voyage could be an escape hatch for the rich for problems on this planet.

  • "Your probability of dying on Mars is much higher than earth."
  • "Really the ad for going to Mars would be like [Sir Ernest] Shackleton’s [supposed] ad for going to the Antarctic" in the early 20th century, he said.
  • "It’s gonna be hard. There’s a good chance of death, going in a little can through deep space."

Between the lines: Even if you land successfully, Musk added, "you'll be working nonstop to build the base."

  • "So, you know, not much time for leisure. And even after doing all this, it's a very harsh environment. So ... there’s a good chance you die there."
  • "We think you can come back but we're not sure. Now, does that sound like an escape hatch for rich people?"

The bottom line: Musk said he'd unhesitatingly go.

  • "There’s lots of people who climb mountains. People die on Mount Everest all the time. They like doing it for the challenge."

Go deeper:

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to fix Elon Musk's age. He is 47, not 46.

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Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Fauci's offensive against "craziness"

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

After becoming a top punching bag for the right, Dr. Anthony Fauci is defending himself with a sharp new edge, arguing that an attack on him is an attack on science.

What he's saying: In comments to Kara Swisher on her New York Times "Sway" podcast, shared first with Axios, Fauci says: "It is essential as a scientist that you evolve your opinion and your recommendations based on the data as it evolves. ... And that's the reason why I say people who then criticize me about that are actually criticizing science."

Afghanistan's president coming to Washington on Friday

Ashraf Ghani, left, president of Afghanistan, and Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

As the U.S. troop withdrawal accelerates, President Biden will welcome Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, at the White House on Friday.

Our thought bubble: Axios politics editor Glen Johnson, who traveled to Afghanistan while working for Secretary of State John Kerry, said inviting both Ghani and Abdullah to Washington shows the administration’s respect for the delicate balance of power in the country.

Educators face fines, harassment over critical race theory

People talk before the start of a rally against critical race theory being taught in schools at the Loudoun County Government center in Leesburg, Va. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Elementary school teachers, administrators and college professors are facing fines, physical threats, and fear of firing because of an organized push from the right to remove classroom discussions of systemic racism.

Why it matters: Moves to ban critical race theory are raising free speech concerns amid an absence of consistent parameters about what teachings are in or out of bounds.