modeling calibrated understanding crowdsourcing quantitative understanding formulating precise estimations predicting calibrated insights calculating critical wisdom assembling precise predictions predicting definitive understanding formulating quantitative estimations aggregating quantitative understanding calculating contingent forecasts mapping the future exploring intelligent understanding assembling critical wisdom assembling critical predictions modeling probable understanding aggregating contingent wisdom assembling predictive contingencies modeling quantitative forecasts computing contingent estimations mapping probable wisdom delivering calibrated insights crowdsourcing critical understanding mapping accurate contingencies modeling definitive contingencies delivering calibrated estimations predicting probable wisdom composing definitive insights crowdsourcing predictive wisdom


Metaculus Help: Spread the word

If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.

One Million Martian Residents by 2075?

In a tweet session on 2020-01-16, Elon Musk laid out some of his plans for Starship production, and they're characteristically ambitious. One astute twitter follower noted that given the number of Starships and frequency of launches he's planning, we can infer the size of the Martian population for which he's planning: 1 million by 2050. Musk summarily affirmed that estimate.

Like most of Musk's predictions, this timeline seems too ambitious to be realized. Corrected to Musk Years, a million-Martian population is more likely to exist by spring of 2074. My question is simple: Will it? More specifically, Will the population of living, biological humans residing on Mars be greater than or equal to one million before 2075-01-01?

Some specifics:

  • Humans born on Mars or born en route to Mars (if that's even possible within the prediction window) do count towards the total (though it seems unlikely this is a major source of population growth in Musk's model).
  • Humans who die on Mars or en route to Mars prior to the closing date do not count towards the total.
  • Humans who leave Mars do not count towards the total, unless they return to Mars prior to the resolution date.
  • This should be resolved according to a credible estimate by any institution suited to evaluate the population sizes of Martian colonies. Some possible such institutions are: the government(s) of any Martian colony(s), SpaceX or any other corporate entities with commercial ventures to/on Mars, any concerned political institutions such as the United Nations or the World Health Organization, any non-government organization with an interest in the demography of Mars.
  • Such entities must estimate the size of the Martian population prior to Earth Year 2075 C.E. Stated differently, population estimates capable of resolving this question may be published in or after 2075, so long as the population estimates are given for 2074 (or earlier, if the one million threshold is met earlier).
  • Any credible estimate of a Martian population in excess of one million humans prior to the end of 2074 will cause this question to retroactively close one year prior to the estimate's publication date.


Metaculus help: Predicting

Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.

The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available.

The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.

This question is not yet open for predictions.

Thanks for predicting!

Your prediction has been recorded anonymously.

Want to track your predictions, earn points, and hone your forecasting skills? Create an account today!

Track your predictions
Continue exploring the site

Community Stats

Metaculus help: Community Stats

Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.

When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.