Elon Musk may build a colony on Mars, but will there be people left to live there?

Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Elon Musk joined a doomsday discussion yesterday saying Earth’s population problems could push us to our ultimate demise.

Musk was responding to an article that appeared in New Scientist that looked at Japan — a country facing declined fertility rates and a life expectancy in the mid-80s — as a microcosm for what the world could face someday.

Japan currently has a fertility rate of just 1.4 children per woman, and the Japan Times reported on a survey that indicates that nearly half of Japan’s young people are virgins.

The article argues that future turmoil could stem not from a meltdown in sustainable food resources, but rather a population that is unable to replace itself.

Population replacement is as significant as a potential “Malthusian meltdown” in that as older generations grow, things like innovation could decline and economies could become more recession-prone.

As reported by CNBC, both Germany and Italy fall victim to this potential problem, with the potential for both of their populations to halve in the next 60 years.

Theorists have long pontificated on the possibility of a global meltdown that would stem from environmental impact, food shortages or even human violence.

Regardless of the reason, Musk has made it his own personal goal to find sustainable options for future human existence. His companies Tesla and SpaceX, and their mission to provide an optimistic future for energy consumptions and human-beings, reflect that.

Musk’s latest tweet is not out of character — the space-age CEO has been known to talk at length about Earth’s bleak future, declining energy infrastructure and even the possibility of human existence stemming from an AI computer program.

As SpaceX launches forward with plans to reach and colonize Mars, and NASA gets a much-needed reboot under Vice President Mike Pence’s new National Space Council, hopefully humans will have future options for survival.

However, it’s hard not to consider the possibility that future spacecraft could be empty, another victim of a population unable to replace itself.

Elon Musk may build a colony on Mars, but will there be people left to live there?
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