Nov 25, 2018

Elon Musk: There's a 70% chance that I personally go to Mars

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.

Go deeper

The cost of going after Bloomberg

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Here's the growing dilemma for 2020 Democrats vying for a one-on-one showdown with frontrunner Bernie Sanders: Do they have the guts — and the money — to first stop Mike Bloomberg?

Why it matters: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren all must weigh the costs of punching Bloomberg where he looks most vulnerable: stop-and-frisk, charges of sexism, billionaire entitlement. The more zealous the attacks, the greater the risk he turns his campaign ATM against them.

How Trump’s economy stacks up

Source: "Presidents and US Economy", Trump figures through 2019 courtesy of Alan Blinder; Note: Data shows real GDP and Q1 growth in each term is attributed to the previous president; Chart: Axios Visuals

Average economic growth under President Trump has outpaced the growth under Barack Obama, but not all of his recent predecessors.

Why it matters: GDP is the most comprehensive economic scorecard — and something presidents, especially Trump, use as an example of success. And it's especially relevant since Trump is running for re-election on his economic record.

Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health