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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.

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