Elon Musk has spent the last decade making a bold attempt to rule the electric car market and now the autonomous car market. He’s been largely successful at the first and is well on his way to the same at the second. He’s spent almost as long in a bolder attempt to rule the public space transportation business and, with multiple successes of his reusable rockets and the successful transit and return of astronauts to the International Space Station, he has accomplished that goal. He wants to rule the low-cost satellite Internet provider market and, with thousands of Starlink satellites already in orbit, he’s well on his way to that goal. He’s testing a heavy-duty rocket with the intent to launch spaceships to Mars and this week revealed his plans for self-sufficient city on the Red Planet. Elon Musk rules a lot on Earth, but will never rule all of it. Is he planning to ultimately rule Mars instead? The answer may have been revealed. Care to guess first?
Last week, SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell revealed in a TIME interview that the space company is planning to bring a Starlink-like service to the Red Planet as well, providing whatever ‘G’ is the latest to Martian colonists in need of cell phone service. That means they’ll be able to look up at the atmosphere-thin Martian sky with no ground light interference and see the same thing they could see back home – SpaceX satellitea caravanning across the sky.
“Once we take people to Mars, they’re going to need a capability to communicate. In fact I think it will be even more critical to have a constellation like Starlink around Mars.”
If there’s cell phone service on the Red Planet, colonists will need something else too. No, not cell phones and modified selfie sticks … service contracts. And that’s where Elon Musk’s secret plan to rule Mars is revealed. A closed beta version of the company’s terms of service agreement was brought to light by Twitter user @WholeMArsCatalog and it revealed this manifesto:
“For Services provided on Mars, or in transit to Mars via Starship or other colonization spacecraft, the parties recognize Mars as a free planet and that no Earth-based government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities. Accordingly, Disputes will be settled through self-governing principles, established in good faith, at the time of Martian settlement.”
“No Earth-based government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities.” Musk has an aggressive plan to send a spaceship to Mars and commence colonization, and anyone who has followed his accomplishments would not be surprised if he wants it to happen in his lifetime. Moreover, he’d probably love to be one of those early settlers – even if it’s the last trip he ever makes. He may not want to be king, but who would run against him in a "self-governing" election?
Wouldn’t that be a great cap on his illustrious career to call in from Mars on his own cell phone system to a Joe Rogan podcast? If there’s anything we should have learned when he arrived in the U.S. from South Africa in 1992 and quickly made his millions at Zip2, X.com and PayPal, it’s that one should never bet against Elon Musk.
He probably already has his crowned spacesuit ready to go.