Inverse‘s James Grebey is reporting that last night, during a White House gathering and with President Obama listening, Leonardo DiCaprio announced that he’s signed up for a proposed 2026 round-trip to Mars on one of Elon Musk‘s not-yet-constructed SpaceX vehicles.
In so doing DiCaprio essentially declared that he’s ready to risk death, which Musk acknowledged a few days ago could very well happen. After DiCaprio’s announcement, Obama reportedly joked “I think he’ll acknowledge he’s crazy.”
Leo might not be “crazy”, but he’s clearly so in love with the thrill of an historic adventure, which will initially cost around $500K per traveller, that he’s apparently ready to buy it.
This is no dream, no game. Leo could die from suffocation a la Gary Lockwood in 2001: A Space Odyssey or end up stranded like Matt Damon in The Martian or become an instant corpse like Tim Robbins in Mission to Mars.
Musk said that the first Mars flight, which he expects will hold around 100 passengers, may launch in the vicinity of 2026, by which time Leo would be 51 or 52.
I for one admire DiCaprio’s stones, but I wouldn’t go on the first SpaceX voyage to Mars with a gun at my back. Musk and his team would have to work the bugs out during the first four or five voyages. If I could afford it (the cost may eventually drop to $200K or even lower, Musk said) I would go on the tenth voyage…something like that.
(1) “The length of a trip would be 115 days on average, though that would range from 80 days to 140. Musk expects that time can be brought to as low as 30 days, eventually.”
(2) “Musk said the risk of fatality would be very high for the first mission, so one of the criteria for going is ‘are you prepared to die.'”
(3) “The ship in the video is what the company intends the actual craft to look like, Musk said. It would need to fit about 100 people, and enough cargo to build self-sustaining colonies on the planet, with ‘iron foundries, pizza joints, you name it.'”
(4) “Musk believes that if the cost can be lowered to about $200,000 a person — about the cost of a house — people will be more likely to buy the ticket. He added that the price ‘ultimately could drop below $100,000.'”
“Death, be not proud, though some have called thee / Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so / For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow / Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.” — from “Death Be Not Proud” by John Donne.