There’s more to settling the Red Planet than just packing a whole lotta people into plus-sized rockets.

In a recent interview, Elon Musk repeated his stated goal of wanting to transport one million people to Mars by 2050.

The SpaceX founder says the future of humanity is at stake, which, okay, but the timeline he offers is ludicrous, and here’s why.

Before we plunge into this, I need to make it crystal clear that many of the challenges addressed in this article are not insurmountable.

Technological feasibility is not my gripe, nor do I take issue with the desire to colonize the Red Planet, though

as I’ve written before, the colonization of Mars will necessitate the transformation of the human species as we know it.

That the fourth planet from the Sun may host bustling cities at some point in the distant future is possible.

My issue with all of this has to do with the stupendously unreasonable timelines under which Musk believes this will happen.

In an April 2022 interview with TED curator Chris Anderson, the billionaire rehashed his plan to send one million colonists to Mars by 2050, and he did so while maintaining a remarkably straight face.

Speaking to a seemingly credulous Anderson, Musk spoke of a herculean Battlestar Galactica-like effort to transport thousands of colonists to Mars with a thousand SpaceX Starship rockets.

Musk’s vision remains aligned with a series of tweets from 2020, in which he articulated a plan to build 100 Starships each year over a 10-year period.